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7 Tips for Choosing a Workstation That Meets Your Lab’s Needs

7 Tips for Choosing a Workstation That Meets Your Lab's Needs
Photo: Unsplash.com

No two labs are the same! And given the capital expense that goes into buying a workstation, there’s a need to research widely before making any purchase. Besides price, there are several factors that you should consider, which include:

1. Add Up All the Costs – Not Just the Most Obvious Ones

Always factor in all related costs. Avoid looking at the bottom line, as this may cause you to incur other unexpected costs. For example, to the purchase price, make sure to include shipping costs, installation expenses (e.g., cost, time, and complexity of adjusting the workstation), costs for any add-on accessories you may need (e.g., equipment holders), reconfiguration costs, and expected lifetime.

2. Account for Future Needs

Do you have plans to expand the lab, reorganize it, or relocate to a larger facility? Any changes in your lab processes and techniques may also require you to change the design and layout of your workstation. Therefore, consider modular, movable stations that are easily rearranged or expanded.

3. Pay Careful Attention to the Ergonomics

Lab techs need a comfortable working environment to become productive. Labs are a major source of repetitive strain injuries, e.g., carpal tunnel syndrome. Selecting the right equipment can go a long way in helping address these ergonomic concerns. Make sure your employees can adjust the workstation easily to match their shape and size.

4. Factor in How the Lab Will Adapt to Changing Equipment Use

The trends emerging in the tech sector have brought several changes to lab settings. For example, the equipment lab technicians use to complete essential tasks continues to change at a dramatic pace.

Take your time to review these trends to confirm that the workstation you choose can support them. Examples of emerging trends include increased use of computers using CAD and scanning systems, central suction with built-in variable port control, increased use of air hand tools, and laser welding as a replacement for soldering.

5. Reliable Support

It’s always a good choice to deal with a reliable supplier with proven industry experience. During the research phase, look into how long the supplier has operated and their reputation. If your lab has branches in multiple locations, confirm the supplier offers support near each location.

Inquire about the product support services available, e.g., the ability to customize purchased furniture, lab layout and design, and installation services. Also, ask if training is available.

6. Build in Flexibility

The need to consider future plans when choosing workstations for your lab was mentioned earlier. However, flexibility is just as important, which is why it needs to feature as a standalone tip.

Any workstation you’re considering should be able to support layout designs occasioned by departmental reorganization, the evolving nature of your work, or building redesigns. The workstation shouldn’t represent an obstacle to the expected growth.

7. Ample Storage for Tools

A simple lab bench may work for some, but you may need to find a workstation with enough storage space for your work tools. There are several possibilities to consider in order to solve this issue, ranging from upper cabinets to drawers and shelves. If you don’t need storage, consider other necessities you may need in the workstation.

Published by: Martin De Juan

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