The mission critical industry is no stranger to change. The technology used in these environments is ever-changing. One change that was unexpected, however, was the need for social distancing in the midst of a global pandemic.
Typically, an operations center features rows or groupings of consoles situated close together. Now, that’s something we’ve had to adapt quickly in order to make workstations safe for those doing vital work in such a critical time. Post-COVID, what does space planning in operations centers look like? Heather Conover, Senior Project Manager at Constant Technologies, and Director of Console Operations Ron Costa join the podcast Mission Critical to Mission Accomplished to discuss some of the ways space planning has changed in 2020.
One thing that we’ve had increased awareness for is the flow of traffic within a room. Space planning now includes anticipating where there may be a “traffic jam” that could inhibit social distancing and trying to eliminate that through careful design.
Another trend beginning to emerge in the wake of COVID is the concept of de-densification. A lot of these 24/7 rooms which have had to continue operations throughout the pandemic are exploring how to maintain proper distancing measures. For centers that are fully operational, shifting to a partially remote workforce that switches “in person” days is one way to de-densify a mission critical space. This reduces the concentration of staff in operations centers while maintaining operational continuity.
For new projects, de-densification means that we design these rooms to have space in between the operators. This additional space can be filled with more storage opportunities in the meantime. If in the future, after concerns of social distancing have abated, the client wants to add more operators, they’re already set to add the new positions due to the space that has been set aside.
Adapting existing spaces
When it comes to already established operations center environments, there are a number of ways we can assist to improve social distancing. We have been adding partitions between users in existing centers to help establish separation. We can retrofit these acrylic partitions to our previous installations as well as add them to new projects. For those that already had partitions before the pandemic, Constant offers the addition of extenders to increase space in between.
Another challenge in operations centers has been properly sanitizing these shared spaces. With an increased use of cleaners comes the possibility of damaging important surfaces. While our consoles are durable and made specifically for 24/7 use, certain products work better than others.
The future of consoles
At Constant we’re already looking ahead to how we can continue to assist with social distancing and health-preserving measures through our console design. One thing currently being engineered is the addition of air filter purification systems to our consoles. In addition, the use of antimicrobial materials for workstation surfaces is also becoming part of our product finish selection.
When it comes to designing for the post-COVID world, Constant looks at it on a case by case basis. There are many ways we can help promote health and safety for your operators, but every operations system is different and works in a distinct way. Each project has its own unique elements. With the new layer of requirements from COVID-19, we will continue listening to our clients’ needs. That way, we can ensure we provide exactly what they need to keep safe whether that’s new layouts, more space, or partitions between consoles.
To learn more about Constant’s solutions and how we can help your operations through this pandemic, contact us today.
Constant Technologies, Inc. provides AV integration for 24/7 video walls and custom operation center furniture. With 30+years experience we can work with sensitive environments in the public and private sectors. Constant designs, installs and services projects of all scopes and sizes around the world. We create solutions with the highest levels of security, aesthetics and functionality in mind.