I was listening to a Podcast interview with Robert Downey Jr. the other day, and the interviewer asked him how he goes about choosing his roles and knowing he’s going the right direction with what he does choose to do. Downey responded by saying that people who have 30 choices when choosing a fabric, for example, will never be 100 percent confident in their choice and will always think they could have done better. When given only three choices, people tend to be completely confident in what they chose, why they chose it and at the end of the day, feeling like they got the best bang for their buck. He’s picky! Downey’s response is so applicable in many arenas, but for the topic of this blog, I thought it was especially poignant — and not just because he looks awesome in that Iron Man suit.
If you have been, will be or just thinking about updating your dispatch furniture, you probably know all the moans and groans of what hasn’t worked or isn’t working in your center. Men say it’s too hot; women say it’s too cold; or it’s just right — said no one ever. Too dark, too bright, too loud, too quiet… you’ve heard it all. So when looking at options from your dispatch furniture providers, you need to be selective. Think about the problems you’ve had over the years, figure out what is going to be necessary to make your people happy, and incentivize prospective hires as to why they’d be happy working for your dispatch center:
- Climate controls: Standard climate controls will include a heating mechanism and a cooling fan. If this isn’t an issue in your center, don’t even look at it as an option! If it's something that doesn’t bother your folks, there’s no use in spending the money on something that probably won’t even get used.
- Task lighting: Task lighting is one of those ergonomic standards that 95 percent of centers need. Task lighting also helps with eye strain, but if you have decent lighting in your center, it’s probably not something you need to worry about, but that would only apply to about 5 percent of you reading this.
- Antimicrobial laminates: Xybix is the only manufacturer currently offering antimicrobial laminates. This is an added cost from standard work surfaces, but it’s a cost that lasts a lifetime and pays for itself the first time you’re not paying overtime or sick leave. This particular laminate is infused with silver ions that are proven to inhibit the growth of bacteria by 99.9 percent. If you have a center often hit with illnesses and the like, then this may be one option not to miss!
- Indicator lights: Indicator lights always seem to be an afterthought. In larger centers, these are tools that are especially necessary because you don’t want your call-takers yelling over to your dispatchers on the back 9. Indicator lights come in various quantities and colors, and can be customized to fit your needs. These are easily tied into your phone or radio applications and can be activated when either of those systems is in use. Most indicator lights will also have a switch available that can be used to notify supervisors or other dispatchers that there is an urgent call or that they need assistance. (With the Xybix Climate Control System, this button is easily accessible from the control pad.)
- Acoustical panels: Noise is always an issue in dispatch centers with call volumes, loud talkers and water cooler conversations — it’s hard to keep things quiet! To reduce acoustical issues, you always want to go with a sound-absorbing materials. Instead of reflective materials, such as steel or metal. Steel construction will bounce 100 percent of the sound that hits them while standard fabric panels should have a minimum .55 NRC rating or Noise Reduction Coefficient. This means they absorb 55 percent of the sounds that hit them which are especially critical behind and around work stations to help create a sound barrier. Additional acoustic options are available in a .75 NRC rating, meaning that 75 percent of the noise in your dispatch center is absorbed completely.
Whatever your preferences, make sure you choose a vendor that can supply the options you need without overwhelming your choices. If there are too many, you have to wonder, what it is you’re actually getting? Are you really making the right choice? Will you always wonder if there was anything better? Knowing what you want ahead of time will ease your decision-making process and make your people happy. How do I know this? Because Iron Man said so.