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Choosing the right telephone headset for the environment
Telephone headsets are used in several types of workplace, including call centers, offices with international locations and video conferencing suites, in various business from banks to marketing agencies. Being tasked with choosing the model of headset for the whole organisation can be a daunting task, which is why our blog provides valuable and useful resources for office managers, audio visual equipment purchasers and individual headset users alike.
Choosing the most suitable model for the organisation means a lot of research and list making, in order to shortlist the models that will make up the final choice. If the organisation has a requirement for two or more different types of headset to cater for office based, mobile and remote workers alike then the task becomes even more considerable, and a specification list is the best place to start.
For each type of user, draw up a list of what features are needed and what features are definitely not applicable. An example is shown below for users in a video conferencing facility for a major bank. These users provide appointments for financial advice and account set ups, from a central location to smaller branches that may not have the staffing levels to cover these tasks. The headsets allow the user to type, to effect print outs to the branch office and to operate the video camera's mute function, as well as turning it to a screensaver when needed. They can also make calls to the local branch using the same headset and are located in a call centre with high cubicle walls, which provide privacy for staff and customers alike.
Noise isolation/binaural model as office layout provides sound isolation. Staff may need to communicate with others in the office during video calls so one ear free is needed
Monaural model to allow for internal office communication as well as video calls
Wireless or bluetooth connectivity – staff are desk based and do not need to use headsets on the move
Ability to use with video call software on a computer and a traditional desk phone
Leatherette ear cushions, as the headsets will be shared by staff
Suitable for heavy/regular use. Although staff are on video and therefore unlikely to fiddle with their headsets and cause a distraction they will be removed and replaced several times a day.
This exercise narrows down the choice of models to the ones which fit the requirements of the organisation and the users, but the next step is to consult with the people who will actually be using them. When you consider that office based staff may be using the headset for around eight hours per day comfort is a priority, as adjusting an uncomfortable telephone headset will be a distraction for the users and customers alike. A foam ear cushion may be softer on the skin than a leatherette one, but if the headsets are to be shared, then hygiene is a concern and foam cushions can harbour bacteria. A monaural model may be preferred by some users who find that twin earpieces cause discomfort, and similarly some people may find twin earpieces more comfortable than having a grip on the opposite side. It may be worth opting for both styles and allowing users to choose the one they prefer, although this means having more headsets in total in order to cater for both preferences. Whether you spend a little more to be able to offer a choice is a decision only you can make – is the extra budget spend worth it to make your staff more comfortable, productive and happier at work?
We don't envy the people who are tasked with making these decisions, as the impact on the business of a wrong decision can be far reaching, but we are always on hand to offer our expertise and advice to help you make the right choice.