4 Reasons Your Utility Operations Center Needs Height-Adjustable Consoles

Posted by Ken Carson on Nov 18, 2020 7:40:53 AM





You always want those utilities in Monopoly. Sure, you can’t develop them with houses and hotels. But they’re so dependable, almost up there with owning the Railroads. $150, $150, $150.* That’s dependable.


And dependable is what community members need from their utility services. When our water or power goes out, even for a few minutes, it’s the ultimate first-world problem. (Except for maybe losing your phone…) To keep utilities running through severe weather and its aftermath, a dedicated team sits in a control room 24/7, monitoring service levels and repairs, and communicating non-stop with field technicians to get your water or power restored. To enable this team to work at maximum performance, they need to be comfortable.

I don’t mean comfortable as in slippers and Snuggies. I mean an ergonomic workstation that prevents eyestrain, neck spasms, “mouse” shoulder, carpal tunnel, tendonitis and lower back pain. Working in pain can lead to poor productivity, errors, absenteeism and low morale—all the opposite of dependable. Height-adjustable consoles, also known as sit-to-stand consoles, quickly adapt to each employee, providing a workstation that keeps employees alert and pain-free.

If you’re still thinking “Oh, standing desks are just a fad,” read on for 4 reasons your utility operations center needs height-adjustable consoles in the control room.

  1. A Perfect Fit, Sitting or Standing

In a 24/7 environment with shared desks, the console’s height must adjust for everyone to achieve proper ergonomics. (“Everyone” is broadly defined as a sitting 5th percentile female through a 95th percentile standing male.) Proper ergonomics ensure that users can sit or stand comfortably with neutral wrist alignment. If the console doesn’t go low enough for a smaller woman, for example, she may still be reaching up to the keyboard and risking tendonitis or carpal tunnel. Learn more about neutral wrist alignment here.

  1. Manage Multiple Monitors

When you monitor data and events on multiple screens while keeping up with communications, you need a lot of monitors. Ideally, you want to place all those screens at the same focal distance to prevent the eyestrain and headaches that come from constant refocusing. The ability to adjust the console height for any user is key to managing all those monitors. Learn more about monitor placement here.

  1. Keep the Blood Flowing

A height-adjustable console gives operators the flexibility to sit, stand and stretch throughout long shifts. This breaks up the boredom of an uneventful shift and provides stress relief during intense weather events and equipment failures. Standing at intervals also offers many health benefits, including burning more calories, improving posture, and increasing blood and oxygen circulation, which is shown to make users more alert and productive. Adjusting the console at just the right height to achieve proper sitting or standing posture helps prevent chronic pain in the spine, lower back, hips, legs and feet. For an additional boost, try a low-speed treadmill to keep workers moving and alert. (Tip: Look for consoles that allow one-touch adjustments and remember settings for multiple users.) Learn more about posture here.

  1. They’re Cool

First, height-adjustable consoles are just plain cool. They look cool. The one-touch adjustment is awesome. The comfort is amazing. When you invest in them, your employees know you care about their health and wellness in addition to morale and productivity. Even cooler is all the options available—for example, individual controls for making your console a little less cool. That’s right, consoles can have their own heating and cooling controls along with personalized lighting and acoustic features. Imagine the morale boost when employees are never too hot or too cold and they can sit or stand to their heart’s content.

For maximum benefit when your community is counting on you, be sure to purchase height-adjustable consoles that meet or exceed standards from the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). This shields against complaints caused by injuries from non-ergonomic equipment.

Designing an ergonomic workplace—and making it practical for use in a 24/7 environment—can be a challenge. That’s why Xybix designers are specifically trained to help command and control center users with ergonomics along with console selection, space planning and interior design.

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*In the family-rules world of Monopoly, my family paid the $150 purchase price as rent. The real rule is that the rent is 4x the dice roll if you have 1 utility and 10x the dice roll if you have both.

Topics: Employee Health, Ergonomics, Features, Command Centers, Pre-Planning