When it comes to setting up a dispatch call center, maximizing space is always at the top of the list. For years, PSAP call centers have been almost exclusively equipped with corner desks, but that dynamic is changing.
Technology has evolved greatly over the years, becoming less bulky and weighing a fraction of old hardware. Desks have evolved to cope with modern computing needs, and old standards are being questioned.
Call center desks have always been built for the technology being used with them. Corner desks have generally been considered the “go-to” desk design due to the needs of older computer hardware, specifically, extremely deep monitors. These monitors necessitated corner desks and took advantage of otherwise wasted corner space.
Older computer systems also required multiple plug-in outlets, access to landline plug-ins, and miles of cordage attached to every piece of technology. Even the older phone systems took up quite a bit of space on PSAP desks, in addition to the multiple cords and power sources they required. Corner desks helped make it easier to meet the large space requirements of this technology. But there are some significant drawbacks to these desks.
- They limit visibility: Corner desks are, as the name suggests, placed in corners. If a dispatcher is sitting in front of a corner desk, they end up facing the corner with their back to the rest of the call center. This obstruction can be a deal-breaker for some, and they are not ideal for dispatchers who need to be in constant communication with others.
- They limit use of space: The layout of a corner PSAP desk essentially means dispatchers have to arrange things in a specific way. If this results in a setup that isn’t ergonomic or productive, the work and the dispatcher will ultimately suffer. Now that monitors are thin, corner desks waste a huge amount of space behind the monitor. In a PSAP where every square foot must be efficiently utilized, this just doesn’t work.
- They limit communication: If a dispatcher sits at a corner desk, it automatically creates a communication bubble. The dispatcher often cannot see his or her manager, and corner isolation makes it difficult to champion the concept of teamwork. In the event of an emergency, the dispatcher must go to great lengths to get the attention of a supervisor.
Inline desks, also known as rectangle desks, are the first desk shape to be popularized in the workforce. And now with modern technology, they are the most efficient and space-saving dispatch desk style. They can be placed along walls, but they can just as easily be placed side-by-side in the middle of the call center. They bring convenience and ergonomic benefits to the modern PSAP since the dispatcher isn’t required to sit at an angle or a twisted position.
Some of the biggest perks associated with inline PSAP desks are:
- They truly save space: Today’s computer technology is smaller, slimmer, and more mobile. Inline desks allow dispatchers to create a workstation that is suited to their individual ergonomics and preferences. Monitors can be moved to the left, right, or center. Keyboards and mice can easily be places where they are accessible. These desks allow for use of a much larger surface area, cutting down on the dead zones or unusable areas associated with corner desks. Expanded workspace for multiple inputs, radios, and other support tools.
- They bring teams together and encourage communication: Inline PSAP desks allow for equal-sized work stations and amenities. They create open lines of sight for both supervisors and teams. Dispatchers are able to sit together in one space, creating opportunity spontaneous meetings and assistance from supervisors when needed they’re needed. This setup also increases transparency and makes everyone feel part of one larger team.
- They are efficient: New, expertly designed, and improved technology integration with inline PSAP desks raise the bar for console performance. Dispatchers have everything they need at their fingertips with easy access. What’s more, power and video cables are routed in dedicated channels to make troubleshooting a breeze and reduce signal interference.
So What Type is Better?
While there are numerous advantages to inline or rectangle desks, the answer to this question is dependent on many factors. Many PSAPS are designed specifically with corner desks in mind, making it hard to inject inline desks into the room. These dispatch consoles attempt to negate some of the drawbacks of corner desks by building around the modern technology dispatchers use.
If you are building a new dispatch center, redesigning an existing one, or replacing all the consoles in your center, we recommend making the switch to inline desks. Our Mercury line offers several high-quality options that offer the cutting edge of dispatch console technology.