The way we communicate at work has changed dramatically over the last several years. For many, the desk phone now sits unused in a closet. More people are using rapid-fire communications on Skype for Business, Join.me, Lync, Jabber, and Google Hangouts while wearing their professional headsets and working hands-free.
You might also have a personal USB / Bluetooth speakerphone for those conference calls. If you’re on the move, you might be using a Bluetooth headset to take the call with you once you leave the office.
Some people own and use a number of different headset in parallel, which they acquire based on ad hoc decisions about what they need at the time. This haphazard method is not the best approach for most businesses, according to Bill Orlansky, the Director of Strategic Alliance Marketing for Jabra:
“As the nature of work continues to evolve and more businesses deploy unified communications solutions, leading companies are putting a framework around the types of audio endpoints they believe will maximize productivity and effectiveness for the various locations and types of users in their enterprise.”
So what’s a better approach? How about…
Segmenting users by their business role
According to Orlansky, businesses should consider three primary criteria to define what’s right for each employee: type of worker, location, and personal preference. Here are some examples of different types of employees and how their role can affect the choice of headset.
Office workers: These are non-mobile employees that typically work on their own, occasionally interacting with others. They spend most of their time at an office (or home office) desk. They need a headset that lets them be more productive by going hands-free.
Customer service: These non-mobile employees are frequently on the phone with customers and clients. They spend almost all their time at their desk. For them, key considerations are noise cancellation and being able to easily connect to desk phones and computers.
Specialists: Specialists mainly work at their desk, but they do move around the office for meetings and occasionally work from home. Their headsets should be comfortable to wear, have a long talk time, and offer exceptional audio quality.
Managers: They travel every now and then. When in the office, managers spend about 30 percent of the time away from their desks. They need a solution that provides hands-free calling, can connect to more than one device at the same time, and adapts to both office and mobile use.
Executive: Executives are often traveling to various company and customer offices. When at the office, they’re mostly away from their desk. For them, wireless mobility and dual connectivity to both computer and phone are most important.
Field worker: These are either teleworkers, “road warriors” that spend most of their time in the car, or employees who mostly work away from the corporate office. They need to be able to work from anywhere and are interested in noise cancellation and wireless mobility.
By creating such an overview of worker roles and their preferred physical locations, businesses can more easily define the necessary UC headset requirements. But there is one more thing…
Don’t forget about personal preferences
According to Orlansky, businesses should take care not to go too far in selecting headsets based only on the above criteria.
“At the end of the day, the device makes the experience for a user of UC, and you want employees to be comfortable with the device they use…sometimes for hours a day,” says Orlansky. “For example, some of my colleagues prefer a small wireless earpiece even when on a video conference at their desk, while I prefer my comfortable, stereo (two speaker) wired headset, or if I am in a closed office, my USB speakerphone.”
Businesses should provide guidelines while leaving room for flexibility, especially since headsets have such a significant impact on UC adoption. “Businesses should allow some wiggle room in terms of the actual device so their employees are happy. A noise-cancelling wireless headset may make great sense for a certain type of user and location, but is it an over-the-ear, headband, or in-ear device?” Users will have different priorities when it comes to comfort, design, and noise cancellation.
Today’s enterprise-grade noise-cancelling headsets not only let the employees focus in noisy offices, but they also ensure that people can hear and be heard by their colleagues and customers.
Keeping the above in mind can mean the difference between a highly successful UC deployment and a disappointment. “Sixty percent of companies expect ROI on their UC deployment in one year, while only 10 percent achieve it,” says Orlansky. A recent Frost & Sullivan report highlights just how big of a difference the right headsets can make. As such, it makes good business sense to look at users, spaces, and preferences.