Ways to make your clinic sustainable

Aug 19, 2020

In a world bursting with fellow Homo sapiens and all of our associated environmental issues, sustainability has become a serious responsibility. Not just as citizens but also as business owners.

Often, it’s easy to pay lip service to the idea of being more sustainable in your clinic, but what have you actually done to achieve it? Being mindful of the world’s resources is the aim unto itself, but there are also personal and business benefits to doing so.

Sustainability has other benefits outside of benevolence – using sustainable practices often helps reduce overheads and provides a new way to promote your business and connect with modern clients as well.

Software solutions and going paperless

Getting rid of receipts, customer records, invoices, brochures, business cards and letters goes a long way to saving money and the environment.

All of this can be easily achieved with affordable cloud solutions. Better yet, you’ll get your business humming even more efficiently for the effort once you’re unencumbered with tedious paperwork.

An effective client management and document management system, combined with cloud accounting software, can save inordinate amounts of paper.

Changing your systems will also have larger implications than just helping the environment (though it’s a great reason!). Switching to digital solutions from paper communications is a big step that goes beyond record keeping and sustainability and actually boosts your clinic’s functionality.

Get thrifty with your electricity

The obvious one – but have you made meaningful power consumption changes in your clinic? Really?

Firstly, the majority of your power probably goes to heating and cooling – this sits at around 40% for most clinics and households.

  • Have you checked the energy ratings on your heating and cooling system?
  • Are there ways to reduce its use while maintaining comfort?
  • Does it operate without people in the clinic?

What about your lighting, which also accounts for a significant portion of a business’ power usage?

  • Are you using the latest energy saving bulbs?
  • Can you use movement sensors to reduce unnecessary lighting?
  • Can you be creative with white spaces, windows and mirrors to maximise light?

A solar clinic

While on the topic of electricity – what about strategic use of solar energy?

This will depend on your clinic and its location, but you’d be surprised how easily you can integrate solar into your operations.

Home based practitioners can get a massive dual benefit from adding solar panels to their homes and even use business tax benefits for home office expenses.

Many physios and massage therapists, for example, work directly from their own homes, with increasing numbers doing so since a certain pandemic rolled over the country.

What are some primary business benefits of looking at solar panels for your home or clinic?

  • Utility savings: Solar’s greatest advantage, whether residential or commercial, is that it can reduce or eliminate electric bills.
  • Storage/resale: With extra panels and a battery you could be storing energy for later use and even selling it back to the grid – making you money.
  • Solid ROI: With government incentives, rebates and possible tax relief, installing solar is an excellent business move with both long term savings and immediate paybacks.
  • Green reputation: Make sure your customers know you run their services on sustainable solar. Keeping your audience informed boosts your brand equity and gives your clinic a competitive edge.

Ethical clinic products

Massage therapists, physiotherapists and medical practitioners make a lot of use of products. Oils, balms, exercise equipment, rollers, furniture, resistance bands, mats, braces etc. These can all be sourced without a second thought. But what if you actually had a second thought?

Instead of simply going for the cheapest you can find, spend a coffee break looking into the companies you buy from and the materials your products are made from.

You might be surprised to find how unethical our choices can be, without us even knowing. Can you switch to green materials and conscious companies without much effort? If you can, do it.

Ethical supply chains

What about people? If a product used or sold in your clinic is produced by slave or child labour, you should be aware – there are no excuses in the age of the internet.

What you should be doing is examining your supply chain and your use and supply of products. Do some elemental research and discover whether people, animals or delicate environments are being exploited on your business’ behalf.

Are you sure none of the products you use are the result of a sweat shop or worse? Dig a little before you buy.

Use it for marketing

Keep in mind that you could and should be advertising your sustainability efforts in your marketing material and throughout your general branding.

There’s nothing wrong with being proud of your actions, as long as they’re genuine, and it’s even better to be rewarded by your customers.

Make sure you let the market know that you run a sustainable clinic, with ethical products, no paper and sustainable power choices. You’ll find clients will reward you with repeat business and more word of mouth marketing.

It’s attractive to be green.

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