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Get your control consoles organized with a slat wall for a clutter-free work space


A single height control console with a slat wall to organize equipment

Is a slat wall beneficial, or is it just an aesthetic choice? Let’s discuss how you can keep a dispatch console (or any other control console) clutter-free by using a slat wall system in the command center. A dispatch console can become untidy and messy very quickly with notepads, telephones, radios, office supplies and monitors resting on the work surface. To help operators deal with all the scattered tools on the dispatch console a slat wall is a good solution as it keeps everything the dispatcher needs accessible and organized.


How to keep a dispatch console clutter-free with a slat wall

After years of designing dispatch consoles and other types of specialized furniture we know how valuable space is in the control room.


Specially if the operator must use different types of equipment like a radio, a telephone, and even simple stuff like pen and paper. All of these things add up and clutter the work surface pretty quickly.


Why does the problem persist? This happens when the furniture being used was not designed to adapt to the needs of the center. Perhaps when it was first purchased the users were not consulted, or perhaps the operators have had to take on more responsabilities as time goes on, which in turn means more equipment is thrusted upon the console.

At Sustema we use slat walls in our control consoles to mount equipment and maximize space.
At Sustema we use slat walls in our control consoles to mount equipment and maximize space.

Working in a cluttered workspace has physical and mental health consequences since every object that is lying on the console doesn’t have a dedicated space, and as such it requires extra effort from the operator to handle it and to keep a semblance of order at their station. Repeating this process all day contributes to an increasing build-up of stress and daily muscle fatigue caused by having to perform the same repetitive motion of reaching for misplaced objects all day long.


Why does a dispatch console get cluttered very quickly?

There is only so much an operator can tolerate by working on a control console in which they have to adapt to it, instead of having specialized furniture that adapts to them. On the long-run, uncomfortable furniture has a negative impact on the organization by increasing the levels of employee turnover. We previously touched upon this subject last week. Having tools and objects scattered throughout the work surface will cause the operator to constantly reach outside their range of motion.


slat wall for traffic control console in Bombardier
Here's a slat wall for an air traffic control console in Bombardier

A cluttered work surface impacts the ability of the operator to respond quickly and efficiently to the task at hand. Since the tools like the telephone or writing utensils are constantly being shifted from one position to another, operators have to readjust the way they work, which interrupts their workflow every time they have to rearrange their desk to suit the task at hand.


Perhaps managing one telephone on the work surface is not much of a problem. But, when operators have to switch back and forth between different lines and radio equipment, they are confronted with high density of equipment, wiring and electrical services that are using up valuable space and actively contribute to fatigue build-up. After some time this causes the operators to suffer from reduced alertness, attention and vigilance; reduced reaction time, reduced physical capacity, increased sick time, absenteeism and rate of turnover.


A slat wall system gives operators easy access to their tools

In a control room with clutter-free work surfaces operators can better perform tasks which must be sustained for long periods of time, as well as work tasks which are long repetitive, paced, difficult, boring and monotonous. Since each tool at their disposal has a predetermined place which is always within reach, operators don’t have to worry about finding a new place for it on their workspace and have that mental process always running in the background of their mind.


A slat wall provides the operators with a clutter-free workspace that has every tool they need to carry out their job. Having their communications tools, their writing utensils, the monitors, task lamps, status lamps and even their laptops resting on the slat wall frees up their workspace so that they can place temporary items. Since the furniture takes on the role of organizing the tools for the operator to use and store efficiently, they can benefit from an increased alertness, concentration and memory retention.

Heavy duty monitor arms mounted on a slat wall to clear up space in the control room
Heavy duty monitor arms mounted on a slat wall to clear up space in the control room.

The consequences for operators who work in control consoles that are not designed to accommodate for their jobs can cause them to have poor decision making, bad communication skills and most importantly a reduced ability to handle stress on the job. Keep in mind that a poorly implemented slat wall can further increase the levels of isolation in the control room as it blocks off operators from their colleagues and prevents them from engaging in conversation and team-building.


A slat wall can handle an array of monitors, communications tools and even support a laptop, but when designing a new control room, you must ask yourself which tools are required for the job. Just because a control console can handle enormous amounts of equipment doesn’t mean that the operator can do the same.


How to implement a slat wall on your control consoles?


For control centers that are experiencing high turnover and decreased levels of employee satisfaction, this may be an opportunity to boost staff morale by implementing control consoles that use a slat wall system. This will help operators counter the causes of fatigue throughout their workflow. Having their essential tools within reach and with a predetermined place helps them to better focus on their jobs, and avoid mental and physical fatigue from having to perform repetitive and tedious motions throughout the day, such as having to rearrange what’s in front of them every time they pick up the phone. If you want to know how you can implement a slat wall system in your control room, contact us and our team of specialists and industrial designers will help you create a workspace that adapts to your needs and specific requirements.


Single surface control console with a slat wall to organized equipment and create a clutter free workspace
Single surface control console with a slat wall to organize equipment and create a clutter-free workspace

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