Work from Home Warriors: choosing your headset

Many workplaces when equipping their staff generally provide a corded headset as these are by far the most cost-effective devices. The challenge with this, is that it means the person having an online meeting/call is effectively tethered to their device and often their desk for the duration.

In longer meetings this can be a problem as it is both unhealthy to be sitting in the one place for an extended period of time, but also it does not get the best out of the attendee.

What do I mean by that? Well, when people get bored in online meetings their minds tend to wander. They will multitask and start looking at other things on their screen, reply to emails/messages, etc.

Another aspect is that often we’re not at our most creative when sitting down. While it’s not necessarily the case for all people or contexts, some people are able to get more ‘creative juice’ out of their head when walking around and using their hands.

The latter is not necessarily the best thing to have in an office as there would be a lot of foot traffic and noise, however we all know someone that does this now.

The problem is that the latter two are issues with corded headsets, whereas with a wireless headset the person is free to move around whether for physical purposes or creative.

In a work from home scenario there is simply no need to be tethered to your desk; it’s your home so you can move around as much as you like.

In my latest episode of Work from Home Warriors, I take a look at the difference types of headsets available and their pros/cons.

Disclaimer: this video contains two leading brands of headsets, and does not specifically identity a particular brand as better than another; it is simply what I had available to work with.

Turn any room into a conference room – part 1

During my day I use Skype for Business (formerly known as Lync) quite a lot – it is our actual phone system at Paradyne so it’s something we can’t live without.

Normally I would use my Microsoft LifeChat LX-6000 headphones for most calls, however from time to time I need to either move around the room or involve others who are physically present.

Historically I have used either the microphone & speakers built into my Surface Pro 3, or if docked at the office I have a Microsoft LifeCam Cinema and external speakers. The problem with both of these setups is that as good as the microphone tries to be it still picks up a lot of background noise as well as almost requires you to talk directly at the microphone. While this isn’t always the case I’ve found more often than not people struggle to hear multiple people in the room unless they are all close and talking directly at the microphone.

Enter the Jabra Speak 510 for PC.

One of my staff suggested I get this device for our office, so at a price tag of only $150 I thought it couldn’t hurt.

In a nutshell: the quality was so clear that when I used the device the people on the remote end thought I was still using a headset.

The device is compact and comes with a carry case for easy transport – so you could easily carry it around in your device bag. It can be connected to your PC using either the integrated cable or the supplied Bluetooth dongle. Installation takes only a few seconds for drivers to load, and it charges via USB so no need to carry any additional power packs with you. The website claims a talk time of up to 15 hours which means you don’t have to worry about charging it often.

The 510 has physical buttons for easy mute, pick up, hang up, and volume control – the necessary basics. Additional benefits are that you can pair your phone to the unit and stream music as well.

Due to its compact size I will be carrying the 510 with me when I travel as well as my Bluetooth headset as between the two I have the freedom to have calls only I can hear, or include others.

In the next two blog posts I’ll cover the other two pieces I use / carry to turn any room into a conference room.