Last updated on December 11th, 2023 at 02:52 pm

When you design a mission-critical command or control center, you can’t just buy any old office furniture. Your operators need an environment designed to help them stay focused and avoid fatigue during long shifts. But if you’re new to buying command center furniture, you may find the terminology confusing.

In 2021, companies are manufacturing highly specialized furniture to suit the needs of 911 dispatchers, air traffic controllers, government agencies, and other critical operators. Below, we’ll discuss what makes command center consoles different from other furniture and which features can benefit your operations.

 

What are Command Center Consoles?

Command center consoles are a type of furniture used in mission-critical command centers such as transportation surveillance, 911 dispatch, security operations, and military command centers. Each console typically includes a workstation with ergonomic adjustability and technology integration features that are not found in standard office furniture.

Many command center consoles include advanced features, such as:

  • Support for multiple monitor configurations, including height and tilt adjustment
  • Status indicator light or supervisor alert options
  • Electric sit-stand height adjustability
  • Integrated cable management
  • Climate controls
  • Access to power and data outlets
  • Quick-connect USB ports
  • Dimmers for task lighting and ambient light
  • Storage space for power and equipment

 

How To Evaluate Your Command Center Console Needs

While a command console manufacturer can make guesses about your command center needs, it ultimately varies from organization to organization. Determining your exact needs should start with a deep understanding of how your team will be using their workstations on a daily basis.

At Russ Bassett, we conduct interviews with your team and use your sketches or photos of the work area to determine the functionalities you need from your new console furniture. Our goal is to understand your pain points so we can help you improve your workspace and focus on critical assistance. We will also give you an estimate of the number of consoles and specific features you will need.

For example, some organizations may need command consoles to include an easy way for operators to show status alerts, while others just need task and ambient lighting. An organization that uses a lot of technology or extra bulky equipment may need more storage space to reduce clutter. Similarly, an organization in which employees often collaborate should choose a console design and layout that supports those needs.

Regardless of who you work with and how you evaluate your command center needs, be sure you don’t forget about user-centered design considerations. Good command center design is about more than just ensuring operators can keep their wrists at the right height; your design should consider every aspect of operator comfort, adjustability, and technology convenience.

 

Professional Command Center Design Challenges

One of the primary design challenges for professional command centers is console ergonomics. Traditional office ergonomic guidelines do not always apply in an environment where employees are often viewing dozens of monitors or multiple monitors that are much larger than average.

As a general guideline, we recommend command center consoles with the following features to ensure operators can work comfortably:

  • A work surface with a 22.6” to 48.7” height range (accommodating the 5th percentile female sitting to the 95th percentile male standing)
  • An adjustable focal depth so the monitor can be placed 15.7-29.5” from the operator’s eyes
  • Adjustable vertical monitor viewing angles so operators can meet the recommended secondary viewing angle of +5° to -50°
  • Adjustable horizontal monitor viewing angles so the operator can keep monitors within 40° of straight ahead
  • Single-control posture adjustments that do not alter monitor position relative to input devices

To learn more about choosing the right command consoles for your workplace, download our Console Ergonomics Whitepaper.

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