How to manage a control room successfully

How to manage a control room successfully

Being in charge of a control room can be a daunting task as it places a large amount of responsibility on one’s shoulders. Following some simple advice will help you to manage your control room successfully, without feeling overwhelmed or burnt out at the end of the day.

Ensure ergonomics

Ensuring that your staff are  comfortable is one of the best ways to increase productivity and morale. This can be done by installing adjustable workstation consoles such as those offered by Intellitrac.

This adjustable console offers features such as interchangeable rack turrets, easy LCD monitor placement, open “off-the-floor” design for increased leg space and cable management. You should also invest in ergonomic chairs or sit-to-stand desks for those not operating the consoles. Having a control room that is centred around ergonomics results in happier employees, which make managing the operation much easier.

Be aware of the law

A control room manager does not have to be a lawyer, but it is important to be aware of the legal and ethical issues affecting the operational, site, and technical functions of the control room in order to keep the organisation out of legal battles.

The laws that you will need to be aware of include such laws as what can be done in the control room, PoPI and the handling of this information. You will also need to be aware of the rights of your staff such as labour related issues and what responsibilities are legal and illegal. Knowing this information and being aware of the laws that can affect your control room will allow you to manage the actions of your staff more effectively.

Communication is vital

Being able to communicate with your staff is essential to the smooth functioning of a control room. You will need to be able to put your point across clearly and concisely, avoiding any confusion or miscommunication.

To improve your communication skills, you could attend a business writing or communication course, which will teach you the correct language to use when addressing employees and senior staff members. Remember to keep all language respectful and avoid using language that is confusing when issuing instructions. Communicating in a manner that every staff member is able to understand is crucial, so be sure to use simple terms and phrases.

Work on your interpersonal skills

Being a CCTV control room manager means that you need to be able to deal with people, not only your staff but your employers and the owners of the building which you are operating from. You may also be required to deal with potential clients.

Having good interpersonal skills ties in with being able to communicate clearly, but also relates to being calm and composed (particularly under pressure), patient, assertive without aggression and having concern for your employees’ well-being. Being able to motivate your employees is another important interpersonal skill. Practising these skills will enable you to reach your employees at their level, allowing for a better flow of communication.

Recognising behavioural and physical indicators of crime

A control room manager does more than simply manage staff, but also has to watch the screens as diligently as their staff. This means that you will need to be well attuned to the behavioural and physical cues of criminals.

One of the best ways to do this is to take a course in the topic, as this will teach you the subtle clues of catching a criminal who is attempting to avoid being caught by CCTV cameras. Control room managers need to develop an effective framework for understanding threat identification and subsequent actions which each of their staff members are able to easily follow. You should also note the performance of your staff in identifying threats and cues, and ask them for help in this manner so the role does not fall solely on your shoulders.

Intelligent use of data

Risk profiling, generating and using intelligence information, as well as  targeting are all actions that lead to a more successful and effective control room. Knowing how to use the intelligence information and data collected from the CCTV feeds will help to improve the abilities of your staff.

Control room managers will need to have an analytical mind or have taken part in courses which teach how to analyse data and information to find the most important points. The coordinated use of the resources in the control room and an integrated approach is the most efficient manner to creating a successful control room.

Managing a control room is not as difficult as it sounds. If you ensure that your staff are comfortable by introducing ergonomic elements, you will find that everyone is more productive and amicable. Having an awareness of the different laws that affect your control is vital, as is proper communication with your staff. If you combine your knowledge with your inherent people skills, you will soon find that your control room is running smoothly and effectively.


Photo by AstroSamantha

Authored by: Pete Anderson

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