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Panel Creep Comes at a High Cost for Call Center Furniture

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October 23, 2012

Panel Creep Comes at a High Cost for Call Center Furniture

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Sometimes the devil is in the details. Take panel creep, for instance.

When putting together a call center, few designers give much attention to the width of cubicle paneling used to give each agent his or her workspace. Such seemingly minor considerations can make a huge financial difference, however.

Panel creep is a silly name that evokes many possible definitions. Simply put, however, panel creep is the unused space created by workstation panels.

The unused space that accrues along a run of workstations, multiplied by the total effect on the call center floor, is the amount of creep in the area, according to a white paper by Interior Concepts.

And creep can cost a company more than you might expect.

“Although five inches of unused space per run of stations doesn’t sound like a lot, the unused space caused by panel creep can add up to hundreds of square feet of unusable space depending on the size of the floor plan,” noted the white paper.

A floor plan with 270 workstations that are 3’x5’ and aisles 6’ wide will consume roughly 10,925 square feet of space when using typical 2” paneling, for instance. This consumes nearly 300 square feet more than floor plans that leverage workstations with 1” paneling, showing the role that panel creep can play.

When panel creep is taken into consideration in such environments, and thin 1” paneling is used to reduce creep, call centers can add nearly 20 additional agents to the floor using the same amount of space. This amounts to nearly $72,000 in annual savings for the call center, estimated Interior Concepts in the white paper.

“The ability to fit more agents into a space will allow for expansion of the call center without the financial drain of opening a new and separate space,” noted the white paper. “This will also keep the agents under the same supervision as the rest of the call center.” Or, if more reps are not needed, it can allow a call center to lease a smaller space.

“With the current market, call centers are more conscious of their space utilization, typically trying to use every square foot of space effectively,” noted the white paper. “Money spent on unused floor space is money that can never be recovered. To avoid wasted space on the call center floor, consider using a one-inch thick panel system when the time comes to reconfigure your space.”

So the devil is in the details, especially when it comes to workstation construction. The difference between 1” and 2” paneling can translate into noteworthy savings for call centers. Better utilization also can save call centers the hassle and expense of relocating when the need for additional employees outstrips existing space.

Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli

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