Watson Consoles Blog

We happily receive customer feedback regularly. This stands out. The dispatcher's comment reinforces the value of our focus to improve the dispatching work environment. Dispatch console workstations are one piece of the mission critical landscape. And it's the piece we are passionate about getting right.

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Reducing workplace discomfort and injury is critical for PSAPs challenged with down-time and churn. While somewhat surprising, it is true that the industry lacks a centralized ergonomic standard to address the needs and challenges specific to 911 dispatching environments. Read on to learn how PSAP equipment providers can deliver meaningful solutions. 

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There is little else that epitomizes the term “love – hate relationship” like the working relationship between dispatchers and the police. At times either side can forget that they are working for the same team. And while police deal with the physical side of the job, dispatchers are no stranger to controversy, anger, animosity, stress, and mental anguish.

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Sometimes it feels like influencing change is impossible! The truth is, it is possible. Here are 5 steps you can easily add to your daily routine. These active strategies will help you improve communication and relationships. Download and print this 11x17 poster for your mission critical team. It starts with you. Print it. Post it. Practice it.

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John Lennon once said that life is what happens when you’re making other plans, referring to the fact that, so often, what we think we want and what we actually have are two very different things. There’s nothing wrong with thinking about tomorrow, but if we don’t occasionally notice what’s going on around us today, we might be making sacrifices of which we’re not aware.

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A "stress helps" mindset may sound counter-intuitive - especially when the stress you experience is affecting your sleep, your mood, and your relationships. For 911 dispatchers and other mission-critical operators, learning to tame the stress effect is critical for daily health and long-term stability.

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Each year we create an event badge for the PSAP teams we have come to know and respect. It's our way of saying thank you for sharing your experiences and helping us create the best dispatch furniture in the industry. How do you get the 2018 collectible badge? Read on...

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In a previous blog, Treadmills at your dispatch console: the good, the bad, and the ugly,  we shared experiences that 911 dispatchers have had with treadmills in their centers. We learned that it’s not always a great fit for everyone. For those centers that have decided to incorporate treadmills, here are the top picks for commercial applications AND three reasons why sourcing directly can benefit your team.

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When your life is defined by how much you do for the world—the difference you make to those around you—it feels counter-intuitive to hit the PAUSE button. But what if a simple pause held more happiness and an increased ability to care for the world? Yes, by slowing down it’s possible to do more! Read on to discover why hitting "pause" reduces stress and is especially beneficial if you have a high-stress role.

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If you are a 911 dispatcher or operator tethered to a dispatch console work station, the opportunity to incorporate healthy movement into your day may feel restricted. We recently shared that non exercise activity thermogenesis, NEAT,  can be a valuable part of a plan for a healthier and more resilient you. The best thing about NEAT is that 1) you are already doing it and 2) it is EASY to increase NEAT activities and benefit from the results. Read on for additional information and a few tips for putting NEAT to work.

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Martha and Jim each have a very different impact on their center. Martha inspires a high degree of trust.  The team members offer solutions to organizational challenges without fear of making mistakes. On Jim’s shift, the feeling is different. Day-to-day, his subordinates don’t know what to expect. His employees generally keep their ideas for improving the center to themselves. Do either of these scenarios sound familiar? Read on and discover the attribute that is the biggest differentiator.

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The energy expended during physical activities, other than intentional sporting-like exercise, is called NEAT. NEAT movements can boost calorie burn, increase muscular-skeletal health, and reduce stress. And, yes, chewing gum is one qualifying NEAT activity. That said, learn about more effective NEAT strategies you can incorporate into your day.

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When exhaustion hits, it is easy to reach for a caffeinated soda,  energy drink, or an aroma-filled cup of joe. While this is exactly what the makers of these products want you to do, there are more effective ways to boost your energy.  Get ready to take your full-shift head-on with these 5 alternatives.

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During her nearly three-decade career as a front line telecommunicator, Laura’s passion for the job waned. More recently, things had gotten worse. She was short with callers and impatient with coworkers. Her daily attitude, usually positive and upbeat, turned sourer each day. 

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Winter is nearly upon us. Did you know that as many as 4 of 6 people experience the effects of "winter blues"? For 911 dispatchers dealing with high-stress calls, the added strain of dreary skies can take a toll. Here are some tips and resources for battling the darker days of winter.

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Daniel Sundahl's evocative image, above, communicates the emotional stress Dispatcher's encounter on a regular basis. Last week, at APCO, the Watson team had the privilege of hearing stories from dispatchers and other first responder teams. We were again reminded how passionate, proud and strong your teams are.

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Did you know?

Compassion fatigue affects as many as eight out of ten 911 dispatchers.  Repeated exposure to second hand trauma while fielding emergency calls can take a toll on mental, emotional, and physical health. 

Michelle Perin shared her insight into compassion fatigue and the risk to 911 dispatchers in a 2012 Officer.com blog

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Why do some people thrive in the midst of daily challenges while others get taken out? Why can some people tolerate a tremendous amount of stress and others get sick? Resilience.

Resilience is the ability to bounce back in the face of hardship and adversity, and perform at your best on a consistent basis. Like a stress ball that returns to its original shape after being squeezed, the resilient recover more quickly when life’s pressures mount. Research has shown that dispatchers who are resilient feel more in control of their work and lives in general, use less sick time and are happier.

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Did you know?

Sitting for long periods stresses your joints, promotes back pain, reduces circulation, and increases your risk of heart disease and diabetes. If you are a PSAP dispatcher, or part of the 100 million+ Americans that work at a desk every day, you have a little extra work to do to keep your health on track. The good news is that increasing your NEAT can significantly improve your health. You might be wondering, "What is NEAT?"

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Communications team leaders experience some common pain points directly related to workspace impact on employee satisfaction. In a previously published blog, How the Best Comm Centers Motivate Their Front-Line Employees, Adam Timm discusses the negative impact of dissatisfaction on operations and suggests ways to change the tide.

However, not all change has to happen at once. There are small adjustments that will positively affect how people feel about being at work and support a healthy office environment.

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Soon we'll be heading into cold season. For many PSAPs (Public Safety Answering Points), the impact of cold and flu season on staffing is a recurring pain point. And for team members who are diligent about washing hands and dosing Zinc and C, the invisible contaminates they are exposed to at shift changes can derail their well-tuned health practices.  Communications center managers know a healthy workplace helps keep the team in-tact and operations running smoothly. Among communication’s centers, in the last few years there has been an increased interest in antimicrobial work surface

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In the spirit of Earth Day (belated), the Watson Consoles team participated in the second Watson dumpster dive.  We learned that simple improvements to our disposal habits will have high impact on both the bottom line and the health of the oceans, streams and forests we love. Our findings might inspire you to think about your trash differently, too.

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As our collective pursuit of ever healthier work environments carries on, I wanted to take a moment and summarize Watson’s perspective and learnings on the controversial topic of treadmills at your dispatch console.  Since the early 90’s, we have designed our products to encourage healthy lifestyles and adopted many of the best practices as part of our core culture and it came as a surprise to many that we took a skeptical (and practical) stance on the dispatch console treadmill concept.

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