Out in the field, in extreme temperatures, at risk every day, you dream of a cushy desk job. But you’ve seen Office Space, right? Are you just trading in your toolbelt for a TPS report?
It doesn’t have to be that way. When you make the transition from the field to a utility control center or dispatch center, your office and desk can be just as comfortable as your coveralls, turnout gear or climbing gear. Read on for 6 tips from people who’ve successfully made the switch!
- Safety = Ergonomics
You may be comparatively safe in the office—ideally there’s no risk of fall or fire—but you still need to protect yourself. Your new risks of lower back pain and repetitive stress injuries can be painful and expensive. You wouldn’t hop in a rental car without adjusting the seat and rearview mirror, and you should think of your desk the same way. A few seconds of adjustments will pay off, especially if your workstation is specifically designed for usability and comfort.
- Trade in Your Safety Glasses
You can skip the polycarbonate safety glasses, but that doesn’t mean you can neglect your eyes. Poor monitor placement leads to tired eyes and headaches, which can lead to poor performance. A height-adjustable, ergonomic desk should be designed so you can place screens 20” to 40” from your eyes with your eyes aligned with the top of the screen.
- Rise Up
If you’re lucky enough to have a height-adjustable sit-stand workstation, take advantage of it! You can’t stand all day any more than you should sit all day, so you’ll need to come up with a strategy that works for you. Plan intervals when you always stand. Maybe the first hour of your shift, during any meetings, and after you eat. If you like to dance around a little, motivate yourself with a fitness tracker and count those steps! This leads to my next tip…
- Adjust your Intake
Out in the field, stopping for a Big Mac meal was never in question. Now, even if you’re standing part of the day, you’re burning fewer calories. And you’re faced with donuts, birthday cake, and pizza Friday. I promise you won’t feel cheated if you grab a Chik-fil-A salad a few days a week. But don’t skip the office fun—everyone loves the donut buyer.
- Dress the Part
After weathering freezing cold and scorching hot days, you may scoff at the idea of debating office temperature. But when the office is too hot or too cold, the discomfort (not to mention all the complaining) can impact productivity. There’s no right temperature for everyone, so learn to dress for the prevailing temperature. If you’re lucky, your work console may come with custom climate controls.
- Figure Out the Coffee Maker
Where is the coffee? Who makes it, who pays for it, and is it drinkable? All these factors weigh into whether you still need time for a 7-11 run before your shift. And no matter what you do, don’t be the one who takes the last cup and leaves the pot to burn.
As you transition from field to office, you’ll be learning new tools to ensure top-notch service to your community and customers. Your command and control center console is one of those tools. Take advantage of its ergonomic features to prevent repetitive stress injuries, be sure to adjust the desk height and monitors to keep your eyes fresh, and enjoy the wellness benefits of the sit-stand option.
Contact a Xybix professional to help you design and set up your new office gear. We are here to help.