More than a year of remote work: Leadership lessons for the shift to hybrid
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Over the last year, calls have moved from the office to the home to, well, anywhere. We’re connecting with people at different times of the day from different locations. However, not all headsets are fit for this purpose. So, when you’re choosing your next headset, how can you figure out which one is built for your needs? To help you make an informed decision, we highlight here some of the key differences between consumer and professional headsets.
Engineered for different uses
Consumer headsets are engineered primarily to maximize our music and media experience in our daily activities. That’s why engineers design earbuds with sweat resistance for people with an active lifestyle, or true wireless earbuds for on-the-go listeners. Because the more comfortable you are using your device during your favorite activities, and the more certain you are that it will work when you need it to, the less you have to compromise.
On the other hand, professional headsets are engineered to elevate the professional experience. In a hybrid world where we work increasingly between the office, home, and co-working spaces, they enable us to transition seamlessly between places and tasks to maximize our productivity and flexibility. You can make office calls in the morning, listen to a podcast on the train home at lunchtime, and deliver that important presentation from your home office in the afternoon, all with one headset.
Many of us are in and out of calls and virtual meetings all day; this has become a standard fixture of the modern professional’s daily routine. And because these calls take up so much of our time, we need a device that can deliver clear audio, lower our fatigue, and give our ears the best experience possible. Just as you invest in an ergonomic chair and a height-adjustable desk to take care of your posture, it makes sense to invest in a purpose-built audio device to protect your ears. Sound quality has a major effect on how exactly we can do this.
Speaker size, form factor (in-ear, on-ear, over-ear), and noise cancellation (Passive or Active) are some of the most crucial features contributing to sound quality. Increasingly so, many consumer and professional headsets are also compatible with apps that allow you to personalize EQ and other features to craft the sound profile that is just right for you.
While consumer headsets have traditionally had the edge with regard to sound quality for music and media, high-end professional headsets still provide best-in-class audio. If your primary concern is to maximize your music experience, and you don’t plan on using it for work tasks, a consumer headset, such as the Jabra Elite 85h, may be the way to go. But if you’re wanting a hybrid headset to match your hybrid work lifestyle, the 85h’s professional counterpart, the Jabra Evolve2 85, will be the perfect match. It delivers a comparable music and media experience, but with additional features that increase call quality and maximize UC platform compatibility.
When the pandemic sent many of us to work from home, our upstairs neighbors, the construction outside, or the barking dog became all-too-common companions to our virtual meetings. Given the novelty of work-from-home arrangements, these disturbances were, for the most part, accepted. But now that we’re moving into more permanent hybrid working arrangements, it will be important to find ways to limit these unnecessary call disturbances so we can deliver that big presentation or lock in that new client without distractions.
While you can certainly make calls with consumer headsets, this is one area where professional headsets definitely come out on top. With more microphones (up to 10 in some headsets) and a boom arm, total speech isolation is far easier to achieve than with consumer headsets, where microphones are often situated behind and far away from your mouth. And with more seamless control over the call experience (boom arm answering, multiple mute functions, easily accessible volume control), you can be more confident and perform better in those situations that really require clarity and precision.
Staying connected is essential for knowledge workers in a fast-paced hybrid work environment. Whether we need to receive a delivery at the door or prepare the kids’ lunch before the school run, we need to trust that our devices will be there for us.
More and more, headsets (just like every other technology) are trending towards wireless. And despite eliminating the hardwired connection between devices, the wireless revolution has actually resulted in expanded connectivity capabilities. Many headsets, both consumer and professional, are able connect to two separate devices at once, and the connection range is increasing with every innovation in Bluetooth technology.
However, with certified professional devices, you get an optimized and smoother experience for multi-connectivity across a wider array of brands and devices. This allows you to switch seamlessly from a meeting on your PC to a call on your iPhone, or run to the front door for that package, without worrying about dropping your call. And with a dongle such as the Jabra Link Bluetooth adapters that come with all wireless Jabra professional devices, you get added integration with computer softphone and software support from Jabra Direct and the best possible Bluetooth range.
Connectivity also means compatibility. Professional headsets are often certified to maximize the experience with different UC platforms, such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom. So, if you expect to use your headset for video conferencing, UC certified devices will give you the best collaboration experience possible. To learn more on how certified devices deliver an elevated professional experience, read this article.
Of course, there are other features to consider when searching for your next headset: battery life, aesthetics, fit, comfort, and many others. But first, you need to know whether you want a pair of consumer headphones, or a professional headset. And to figure that out, the first question you should be asking yourself is: “What will I be using it for?”