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At Watson we have the privilege to work with hundreds of PSAPs throughout the course of a year as they design their new facilities. A few times a year we take a moment to reflect and identify patterns in customer preferences, evolving functional requirements and technology integration. While every center has their own unique requirements, the following three trends are currently driving most of our new project specifications. When charged to spend municipal dollars for dispatcher desks, it is crucial to make an educated and value-driven choice. PSAPs are discovering they can gain long-term benefit from specific furniture function and design attributes. If your 911 call center or security office is concerned with operator health and focus, maximizing your space, or reducing overflow and clutter, read on.

view from up with coathook

Space-saving footprints

Long gone are the days of accommodating bulky and heavy CRT monitors and many managers recognize that the corner pocket space can (and should) be reclaimed for their dispatchers. Designing console footprints around the size and shape of flat panel displays allows for the same level of technology to be condensed into a smaller and more ergonomic package that reallocates the workstation footprint and allows for up to 35% more floor area for the user. Secondary benefits of this trend include room for side-by-side training or team calling and easier access to tech cabinets. Cabinets that are stored outboard or beneath the worksurface can be accessed without displacing the dispatcher or call taker.

PSAP dispatch center designs

Visit this configurations page to see how linear units align. Look ma, no dead-zones in the corners!

Providing space for engaged activity between calls

Depending on the time of day, week or year call volumes can vary dramatically. Many of our customers have policies that allow their teams to participate in extra-curricular activities between calls. This keeps the brain active and promotes alertness. One PSAP team asked for an extended workspace to accommodate something "as small as a deck of cards and as large as a sewing machine."

F01 - Typ A

We frequently design our consoles to include secondary work areas that can be used for anything from training to extra-curricular activities. It is no wonder more and more centers are choosing rectilinear console desks. The footprints make good use of space and provide the flexibility teams desire.

Northwestern storage

Cleverly integrated personal storage

Despite the fact that more and more of our daily lives revolve around the digital world, most people still have a lot of stuff.

Today, we frequently are challenged to integrate compartments for binders, personal items, trash receptacles, and food and snacks. Console furniture has traditionally done an excellent job at organizing the people and technology to support day-to-day call center operations but frequently storage is an afterthought - and it shows. Appropriate consideration for storage requirements at the early stages of the design can result in seamless integration of storage cabinets as part of the console system.

Take a peek over this dispatcher's shoulder. You'll see everything has a place. Work tools store in open storage compartments and each dispatcher has a closed cubby for personal belongings. See more images of Northwestern University's dispatch center.

Get the biggest bang for your budget

When you begin your project, remember to look for efficiencies and added function that enrich the work environment.

Download the "Quick-start buyer's guide." This checklist will help PSAP, Call Center and Security teams get the most out of the furniture acquisition process.

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