There’s no shortage of UCaaS platforms out there: Skype for Business, Cisco Jabber, Avaya Aura – you name it. These platforms are quickly changing the way people communicate and work. Companies now need to look at something they may not have considered before: How to deploy headsets for their many different employees?
Most businesses haven’t had much experience with deploying and managing headsets for a large group of employees. There’s one exception: businesses with employees that are “call-centric.” These professionals listen to and talk with customers for a living – think stockbrokers, insurance agents, or call center agents. Their typical day includes a lot of phone conversations and the occasional quiet time to get some focused work done. Call-centric workers treat headsets as a critical business tool; they wouldn’t even consider doing their jobs without one.
Today, more and more businesses are starting to deploy headsets to completely different types of employees in order to improve their productivity and help them make better use of new UC tools.
Headsets can improve collaboration, concentration, and productivity
A big chunk of future growth in UC will come from so-called “task workers.” According to Bjørn Ekner, Senior Director of Global Product Marketing at Jabra:
“Task workers are knowledge workers in a myriad of roles that essentially internalize information and collaborate with customers and colleagues for a living in order to create value. They can range from low-mobility employees that work mainly at their workstation, to remote collaborators that interact often with remote colleagues and may work from home, to employees that need to be highly mobile in and around the corporate campus. The majority of these folks have never used a headset before, but once they start using one, the concentration and productivity benefits quickly become apparent and they become converts.”
These task workers often switch between collaborating with colleagues or customers to concentrating on a specific task, alone. Headsets can help them with both.
When it comes to collaboration, headsets can benefit task workers in two major ways: sound quality and productivity. Ekner says:
“With UC&C, an increasing portion of a knowledge worker’s meetings will take place over their computer or via their mobile phones. The right business headset will not only deliver superior sound quality for the user, but also delivers a professional experience for the people they’re speaking with.”
You’ve likely had a call where the other person was using the standard earbuds that came with their phone. Unsurprisingly, they probably sounded like they were in a well – the call quality was terrible. Headsets can ensure crystal-clear quality for all parties and deliver a better, more professional experience.
Another huge benefit of using a headset is that it frees your hands. Studies show that workers using headsets are up to 40 percent more productive. Having a clear-sounding conversation while still being able to type, write things down, and look for documents is a big deal. It changes how we conduct calls, video chats, or web conferences. To those workers who’re often on the road or roaming the office corridors, a wireless headset can truly be invaluable.
As more of us work in noisy, crowded open offices, it becomes increasingly important to be able to quickly switch between collaborating with others and concentrating on your own. Another study found that nearly 70 percent of knowledge workers believe that office noise negatively impacts their productivity. Headsets can help people create a sort of “personal concentration zone” so they can do focused work in a hectic workplace.
Unified Communications headsets have lots of features to support this, including:
- Noise-cancelling speakers – so you don’t hear the noise going on around you
- Noise-cancelling microphones – so the people you’re talking to don’t hear that same noise
- Multi-connectivity – so you can easily connect to and switch between computers, desk phones, smartphones, and other devices.
- Notification lights – so your co-workers know when not to interrupt you. Whenever you’re on a call, a light switches on, indicating that you’re busy. You can also turn on this “do not disturb” light manually, whenever you need some peace to get work done.
- Excellent acoustics and a universal audio jack – so you can listen to music that helps you focus.
Ekner says these features are becoming increasingly important:
“With so many companies reliant on task-based workers, our Evolve series headsets, which are specifically designed to address both the collaboration and concentration aspects of a task worker’s daily routine, is one of our best selling product lines to date.”
More focus on the headsets
All of the above puts pressure on IT teams to deliver the right types of headsets to the right employees and to manage these headsets after they’re deployed.
Increasingly, companies expect their headset resellers to act as trusted advisers and help them navigate the new challenges. According to Ekner, more resellers are now asked to perform corporate assessments, segment users by their role, establish the right quantity and mix of headsets, evaluate wireless density, and make sure that headsets are fully optimized:
“There is more to a successful rollout than most people realize, and resellers and VARs are stepping up to streamline the process.”