I’m often asked whether the inexpensive headsets advertised on the web are adequate for the workplace. Simply put, they’re not.

These devices connect organizations to their customers and the outside world, so it pays to invest in a good headset — ideally one that works so well, you forget it’s even there.

One thing I’ve learned in my six years as an enterprise collaboration consultant at CDW is that a high-quality headset is essential to effective collaboration. I know I couldn’t work as well as I do without mine. At the office, I work in an open space with plenty of background noise, but from the sound quality of my phone calls I could be sitting in a silent chamber. I take calls in the car, at home, in the coffee shop and while traveling, all without any distractions from what’s going on around me. Not only do I not hear background noise, but the clients on the other end of my calls don’t hear it either.

The headset is comfortable, it allows me to take hands-free calls and it makes for a more seamless experience. Instead of interrupting callers to ask “Can you hear me now?,” I can focus on my work.

So what should you look for when shopping for a headset?

Make sure it integrates with your primary software suite. Many headsets are designed to work with specific collaboration software. When you plug them in, they automatically find the collaboration suite — no need to install drivers or adjust settings. They just work.

Look for advanced software features. For example, some headsets warn when you’re muted. If you begin to speak, the headset will tell you you’re on mute so you don’t ramble on to yourself.

Consider the management tools available with the headset. They enable administrators to make sure everyone has the latest setting and firmware. Some manufacturers even offer management tools that individual users can install on their PCs.

Opt for a wireless headset, so you can move around while working. If you’re sitting at your desk and your Apple Watch barks at you to get up and move, you can continue your call seamlessly. If you need to take a quick call before your next meeting, you can do it on your way to the conference room rather than getting stuck at your desk.

As I said earlier, noise cancellation is important. You should opt for a dual headset design, so that the noise cancellation works on both ears as opposed to just one. A boom microphone is also important for clear audio.

Before buying a new headset, it may be worth looking into some of CDW’s device-as-a-service offerings. Organizations pay a monthly fee for headsets rather than an upfront capital expense, and they don’t need to manage the inventory or replace headsets if they break. If a headset fails or a new model comes out, CDW will replace it. Organizations can choose 12-, 24- or 36-month contracts, which often include support through the manufacturer’s technical support line. Businesses can also seamlessly add and remove users as needed.

By opting for the device-as-a-service plan, organizations don’t need to spend their energy worrying about headsets. They’re just there, even when users forget all about them.

For the latest in collaboration trends, check out BizTech Magazine.

As always, feel free to leave a comment below.

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