Modern offices are turning to headsets in increasing numbers to replace a traditional telephone-based setup or upgrade or improve on existing models. The most commonly requested benefits offer an intriguing glimpse into improvements to headset technology and the evolving demands of the modern workforce.
Sennheiser’s sales team has put their heads together to come up with the most requested headset features based on customer feedback – some of which might surprise.
Battery life is particularly important for Bluetooth headsets. For workforces where constant communication is a key requirement, ‘day long’ battery life can avoid the hassle of having to recharge repeatedly, interrupting their workflow.
Headsets also need to be able to charge quickly and deliver a significant initial ‘boost’ within the first 10-15 minutes to cope with unexpected calls.
Bluetooth & Mobility
Being able to ‘carry your office with you’ benefits situations such as remote working, hot-desking and collaborative group working. Features like aptX® enhance the Bluetooth® sound quality for a superior audio experience, and WindSafe™ reduces wind noise outdoors to ensure that communication for mobile workers is clearer than ever. The flexibility of many models also allows them to switch seamlessly between softphone and mobile calls, combining an in-office headset with a mobile headset for uninterrupted operation.
Wireless headsets promote a far greater range of movement within an office and the freedom to get up from a desk and walk around while on a call. This can have significant health benefits – studies indicate that simply standing and moving around an immediate area for two to four hours per day can help to prevent the onset of chronic diseases associated with sedentary lifestyles and being ‘tied to a desk’.
Sound quality/Call clarity
Sound quality and call clarity are two of the most important requirements for modern headsets. Advanced microphone technology, such as Sennheiser’s unique SpeakFocus™ uses 3 digital microphones to zoom in on the user’s voice, delivering consistently clear sound without unwanted background noise for the listener. Headsets not only need to offer clear sound in ‘normal’ environments, but also cope with situations where background noise is competing for attention. Features like Sennheiser’s innovative NoiseGard™ adaptive ANC, automatically monitor the environment for noise and adapt the degree of noise reduction dynamically in the headset. This helps to eliminate the tiring sensation of being ‘stuck in a barrel’ and even long periods of use remain pleasant and comfortable. It’s the ideal solution for staying focused in challenging environments, such as bustling open-plan offices.
For call centres and other businesses that require employees to be on the phone for the majority of the day, comfort is a key requirement, and can impact employee satisfaction, communication quality, productivity and health and safety. A headset made with premium materials that does not overheat, that is adjustable to fit specific tastes and that can be worn for extended periods without discomfort is one of the most commonly requested features.
Price is always important, but more companies are now discovering that the up-front cost is not always the best judge of an investment. As shown by other entries on this list, assets such as increased productivity, staff happiness and wellbeing and clear communication can mean that more expensive models offer far more overall value in the long term.
A strong warranty and effective customer support can make a real difference, whether depending on reliable equipment for important and potentially life-saving communication or simply to avoid frustration. In a competitive market, having direct access to knowledgeable and responsive support staff can be the difference when it comes to the final choice of headset manufacturer.
Many companies foster a sense of premium performance, from the attitudes and approach of employees to the equipment they use every day.
Headsets that reflect this approach can be an important part of the equation, as well as showing that corners have not been cut in providing effective tools to do the job. There are also more practical aspects – the ability to choose between different wearing styles, or single and double-sided models, can have a big impact on comfort and performance.
Acoustic safety is a legal requirement to comply with health and safety guidelines and can take two forms. Acoustic shock involves high-intensity, high-frequency sounds that can range from caller abuse to electrical feedback or sonic energy spikes, resulting in anything from temporary impairment to permanent deafness. Protection against excessive noise is also important, but in many headsets audio is dampened across the range when a spike is detected, which can mean voices cannot be heard.
Technology like Sennheiser ActiveGard® can intelligently detect and filter out spikes in these scenarios without noticeably affecting the levels of the remaining audio – a potentially lifesaving advantage for businesses such as the emergency services.