While driving through the frigid, negative degree temperatures in Canada two weeks ago (and yes, I’m talking Fahrenheit!), the first thought that came to mind is, “How in the WORLD do these dispatchers regulate the temperatures in their centers with these out-of-this-world temperatures?” Then,
I thought of all of the southern parts of the US that get into triple digit heat during the summer months, wondered how they prevent having their center too cold.
Do either of these scenarios sound familiar?
- “With these frigid -26 degrees Fahrenheit temperatures, we keep our center warm all winter long.” But what happens once you have dethawed from the outdoor elements? We all can imagine how hard it can be to focus at your dispatch console when you are too hot.
- “It just doesn’t get cold here, so we try to keep our center at a ‘comfortable’ temperature for all of our employees.” However, comfortable to Jane could be a completely different definition of comfortable to Mark. Is that 65 degrees? 73 degrees? It can be equally as challenging working in an environment that chills you down to your bones.
The first thought that comes to your mind may be space heaters. However, most centers prohibit the use of space heaters. And, it's not because the manager wants to make their employees’ work life less comfortable. There is actually valid reasoning behind this “NO”. Space heaters are often plugged into already crowded electrical strips. Depending on the AMP capacity of the electrical strip or outlet, the space heater may draw too much power and would result in a blown circuit. I’m sure you can imagine the ripple effect this could cause in the center…
So what is the solution? If you find that you are trying to play this same balancing act regularly – between hot and cold, maybe it is time to talk to your furniture vendor about their personal climate system offerings. Usually heaters and fans are simple add-ons that can be accommodated even after the furniture has been installed. They usually are run off their own power source, and require significantly lower wattage (for example, Xybix has 250w per heater). This will make your manager, coworkers, and even your IT folks very happy. That way everyone is most productive and can stay focused on their ultimate goal – being the best first responders out there!