Deciding which telephone headset is best for home working becomes much easier with our buying checklist below.
TELEPHONE HEADSETS FOR HOME WORKING
With more people having to work from home because of coronavirus, it’s important to make sure your workspace is comfortable, but that you can also work effectively. Apart from a computer and a chair, a good quality telephone headset can make a difference to your health and productivity. You could be forgiven for thinking that most headsets look the same, but there is a huge choice out there. Features like noise-cancelling, wired or wireless connectivity, comfort, and ease-of-use all vary by make and model.
If you are looking for a headset for home working, then your buying considerations should be much the same as if you were choosing one for the office. We have put together a short buyer’s checklist to help you decide.
TELEPHONE HEADSETS: BUYER’S CHECKLIST
You need to make yourself heard so a good microphone (mic) is essential. This is the most obvious difference between a headset and a pair of standard headphones. Unlike headphones, a headset will have a microphone attached to the end of a dedicated tube so that your voice is amplified and uninterrupted.
While some headphones incorporate a mic on the earpiece or a cable, the one on a headset microphone will be of better quality. Headphones may be okay for the occasional call but the person on the other end of the line will also hear any ambient noises, which may muddle the message you wish to convey. On a headset, audio transmission is much clearer, and will better amplify how you sound on a call.
You will also need to make sure you can hear the caller properly. Headsets can be monaural or binaural. A monaural headset allows you to listen to a call with one ear, whilst keeping the other one free. A binaural headset covers both ears and keeps any ambient noise to a minimum, ideal if you are in a noisy or open environment.
When you use a headset for work it means that you can keep both hands-free, instead of having to hold a phone to one ear. At home you do not want to be securing a phone between your ear and shoulder while you try to check details on a PC or type some data. Trying to work like this will have a detrimental effect on your posture. Avoid getting into awkward positions by wearing a headset.
Make sure too that your headset is lightweight, especially if you have to wear it all day. Choose a style of fit that feels best for you either In the Ear, On the Ear or Over the Ear.
At work you probably never give a second thought as to how you connect with the world through your headset. At most you just plug it in somewhere and put it on.
When you are working from home you need to think more carefully about the connection. Consider first the device you will use – PC, laptop, landline phone, even mobile maybe. Then check if you will need a cable, and if so what you may need to add to connect a headset. Normally it will be either a USB or a microphone jack, but which will give you the best sound experience? Try our Headset Compatibility Check to help you make the right choice.
Most people do not have a formal office at home, even less likely a sound-proofed space. At best perhaps, you have a corner set aside somewhere for a computer and a phone. In the good old days, when you occasionally had to work remotely, this was fine because you were the only one at home. Everyone else was out, maybe at school or at work themselves.
Now you are competing with the whole family and you can hardly hear yourself think! Isn’t it time to look at noise-cancelling headphones? These have microphones which work in two ways. The front part of the microphone will pick up and amplify your voice. The reverse side does the opposite. It picks up extraneous sounds and softens them by up to 75%, allowing you to concentrate better on a call. It also means the person you are talking to is primarily hearing you and not the dog, the baby, or some other distracting background noise.
Don’t overlook little details when buying a headset. In a home environment, a protective case can prevent ear pads and the mic itself from attracting unwanted dust, insects and spills.
What about battery life? Have you checked with the manufacturer how long the headset will last on a normal charge, or whether any batteries might be needed – and if so, are they ones you can find easily enough at Sainsburys?
Of course sometimes it’s the least obvious things which can be an influencing factor in the headset you choose. Headsets which sit in the ear or on the ear don’t mess up your hair!
If your company is asking you to work from home, it will either supply you with a headset, or give you a budget and ask you to choose one yourself. If you have to spend your own money on a headset, there is no need to spend a fortune. Well-established brands like Jabra, Plantronics and Vega have been making good quality, affordable business headsets for years.
If you want to save money, then why not consider a refurbished headset? Look for refurbished headsets with a one year guarantee for peace of mind. Refurbished should mean consumable components like ear cushions, voice tubes and windshields have been replaced with new parts. Sounding and looking like new, they are cheaper and better for the environment at the same time.
Wired or wireless
Headsets can be wired or wireless. Deciding upon which one to choose will depend on whether you stay in one place or move around.
Wired headsets are normally cheaper than wired ones. They share the same main features as wireless equivalents but oblige you to stay in one spot. If you are working from home, and there’s a noise in the background, there may not be much you can do about it.
Depending on range, wireless headsets give you more freedom to move around. Paired generally with a handset lifter, these give you the freedom to move to another room or area when you are on a call. You are also less likely to miss a call with these as the call can come through wherever you are.
WHERE CAN I BUY A HEADSET?
Commswarehouse has a huge selection of headsets and phones for voice and video conferencing from all the leading brands. If you are buying for yourself, or your business we can supply new or refurbished models to help you keep your costs and environmental footprint to a minimum. Call our team now for the best advice.