Seven Critical Design Elements of Effective Call Centers

September 1st, 2007

1: Take a holistic view of the overall work flow of the call center floor when designing the floor plan.

When pressed for time or money, there can be a tendency for organizations to think only about the big picture of their call center design. However, this thinking can be short-sighted. Instead, planners should think about, and even mentally walk through, the details of the workspace to ensure that all aspects of design have been addressed.

2: Workstations should be large enough to accommodate the work flow necessary for agents.

Workstations have graduated in size, with many call centers using variations of 5-and 6-foot wide designs. Some centers choose to go even larger, depending on the company culture and the tasks or services being performed.

3: Provide ergonomic accessories so that each station can be customized for the agent.

In recent years it has been proven that attention to ergonomics can reduce repetitive motion injuries and costs associated with absenteeism and productivity. Some of the most important ergonomic furniture accessories include heavy-duty chairs with multiple adjustments, adjustable keyboard mechanisms or keyboard trays, adjustable monitor arms, wrist rests and even footrests.

4: Furniture should address specific company needs such as space and design.

Let’s face it, one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to furniture. It is critical that the furniture adapt to the environment and needs of the call center — not the other way around. Center leaders should not compromise on anything less than the most productive individual work areas for their employees.

5: Wiring and cables should be totally concealed, yet easily accessible, in the furniture.

If a call center is designing its own building, the layout of the wiring and cables should be factored in, but when moving into an existing facility careful consideration must be given to the furniture systems that both conceal unattractive wires, yet also allow for accessibility when required. Be sure to research furniture systems that offer generous channels for wires and cables and that allow connections between stations.

6: It is important that the entire facility be user-friendly.

The importance of creating a pleasant work environment should not be underestimated.
Incorporate such features as inviting break rooms, secure storage for employee personal items, proper lighting, aesthetically pleasing colors — including furniture fabrics and colors, as well as paint/wall paper/graphic designs — and space-efficient traffic patterns.

7: Utilize “one-stop shopping” manufacturers.

Look for full-service manufacturers that provide not only agent furniture systems, but also storage cabinets, meeting tables, chairs, and administrative and executive office furniture. Using one furniture provider makes it easy to find replacement or additional parts and makes new purchasing easier when expansion is required.

From time to time, Kaulkin Ginsberg utilizes outside experts for topics of interest to ARM professionals.

Interior Concepts specializes in designing, manufacturing and installing high quality furniture for call center environments. For more information call 800.678.5550, or visit www.interiorconcepts.com.

For more information on Kaulkin Ginsberg’s call center advisory services, please contact us at 301-907-0840 or by email.

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