Purchasing chairs for a multiple user, 24/7 environment is always a difficult task. It seems that there are always compromises to be made in comfort, durability or functionality. Where do you start? How do you know if what your buying is actually a 24/7 chair? Finding the answers to your purchasing questions is not easy, but with a few simple steps, you can get the most out of your chair buying experience.
The biggest thing to remember when ordering chairs is to allow yourself enough time to make sure that you are making the right choice. Make sure that you have given yourself ample time to do all of your homework, research all of your options and demo any product you are considering.
Start your research:
First-- Contact other agencies to see what they like and do not like. It does not mean their pick will be what you like but it is a great start.
Second-- Make a list of all of the chairs that you have found that might work for your centers specific needs.
Third-- Contact all of the manufacturers of the specific chairs you are interested in and ask them to send you a "demo chair" of your choice to try. If a company is reputable and well known in the 24/7 market, they will have no problem sending you a demo.
Other Considerations-- In certain purchase decisions, getting input from every Dispatcher that works in your Dispatch Center is not possible and not always the best thing to do. In the case of making a chair purchase, getting the input of every person in your Dispatch Center is definately the best way to go. Chairs should be considered pertainent equipment to the job and they should also be considered as one of the most important pieces of equipment the dispatcher will use. It is the only piece of equipment they are in contact with and will use the entire shift. A Dispatchers chair is one piece of equiptment that will get the most most use out of the entire Dispatch Center.
Keep in mind that not all of your staff will agree on the same chair. Most reputable manufactures will offer more than one style of chair. There always seems to be a debate on the comfort of high back chairs in comparison to low back chairs. It might be a good idea to demo both types.
Comfort is typically the primary factor in chair selection for a Dispatcher. Since no one person is the same in size and shape, purchasing chairs from different manufacturers should be considered. I have found that you can usually satisfy most Dispatchers if they have a choice of chair when they come to work. Having multiple shifts in the Dispatch Center will allow for a variety of chairs to be circulated based on different shifts. If you guide the Dispatchers to making a chair purchase with guidelines of quantity and a budget, they will be much happier with the long-term outcome.
It has been my experience, in some cases, that a variety in chairs from various manufacturers is the best solution. In some cases, I have seen dispatchers select one type of chair and end up liking another type of chair after the purchase has been made.
No matter which way you go, or how you make the purchase. The best practice is planning, patience and research before making an investment in the well being of your Dispatchers.