How to Keep the Body Moving During the Workday in an Operation Center

Posted by Gail Gerlesits on Dec 9, 2016 10:32:22 AM


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Whether a DOC or a TOC, operation centers need to ensure reliable grid operations to keep the power on. We all rely on it. With no weather issues or recent storms, one of the biggest issues for a operations center can be if it is too quiet. Sounds strange, but in a 24/7 center and 10 hour shifts, the days can get very long for operators. On the flip side, if there is too much happening, this can make for a stressful day. Keeping the body and the mind active can help to reduce stress and improve health. So what can you do during times of stress or inactivity. Here's some suggestions:

Too little activity - Human bodies are meant to move. In today’s workplace, most of us sit for more than 9 hours a day. This type of inactivity can lead to harm, physically, mentally and emotionally. The InMovement Company has found that people sitting too long are 35% tired, 26% bored and 62% of people felt more energized when they were standing. So, too quiet of a day means inactivity. Getting up and moving will probably have the most positive impact immediately; keeping the operators alert in a mission-critical environment.

Too stressful of a day - Working in an uncomfortable chair or at a desk that’s the wrong height can cause your body to become achy. Looking at SCADA all day can affect your eyes. But if you’re suffering from aches and pains that can’t be explained by poor ergonomics, it may be that you’re under too much pressure. According to Dr. Gabor Mate, author of When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress, stress causes many more physical symptoms than we realize. Unexplained pain can be a signal from the body to alert you to the fact that you’re over-taxing yourself.

WebMD shares that major stress comes from having too much or not enough work. 

  1. Inactive Days: Get moving.

In a DOC or TOC your people need to be capable to make decisions well. A study by the University of Minnesota found that walking while working might improve not only an employee’s health, but also boost output. The study was conducted by Avner Ben-Ner, a professor of Work and Organizations at the Carlson School of Management. What they found was that treadmills increased productivity by nearly 10 percent. InMovement shares that with movement 62% people will feel energized and 58% alert.

Suggestions: Treadmills, bikes, walks around the center, or even a stroll to the popcorn maker can help.

  1. Stressful Days: Help your people out.

Most operation centers already bring in extra people to handle the rough weather issues. And, on a busy day, supervisors pitch in to help out. Research shows that too much stress can cause health issues, including not eating properly, getting enough exercise or getting enough sleep.

Suggestions: Be mindful of your team’s health. Make sure your operators are eating well and getting enough rest. Treadmills, bikes and walks around the center help with stress. And yes, having some popcorn can relieve some stress.

And while you can’t control the weather patterns or unexpected problems, you can control your health while at work. 

Achieve Better Health While You Work

Topics: Employee Health, Ergonomics, Healthcare, Command Centers