Modern Workplace Blog

Handset or Headset

Handset or Headset

In the skype for business (SfB) bubble that I sit in, I often wonder why people would use a handset instead of a headset. So, in this post I’m going to look at the pros and cons of both types of devices, and explore whether certain scenarios are better for each.

Let’s start with handsets, this makes skype for business feel much more like a traditional piece of telephony kit. Of course, there are a number of models certified and specifically designed for SfB, each giving different functionality. However, it makes it feel like a traditional phone. You dial your number and you’re ringing your intended target, much like any other PBX. Which makes the switch easier for people who might not quite be ready for a softphone just yet.

Most model’s you’ll also have the ability to hold and transfer calls. The other factor, about a handset, which is under appreciated is that you don’t have to have your laptop on, so if you’ve just shut down for the day and the phone rings then you’re not going to miss it.

Most handsets also give you the ability to use speakerphone too, so you don’t have to hold the phone to your ear. That’s fine if you are an executive with your office but what about people joining a conference call from their desk, something SfB is designed for, really, you’ll need a headset for this scenario.  The final thing is pricing, most of the time a handset is more expensive than a headset. Although, it could be argued a handset has a longer life span, so might work out cheaper over the long run.

So what about headsets? Headsets are great for people who are familiar with SfB and want to be able to use their hands whilst they are on the phone. It could be argued, the voice quality isn’t as good with a headset but I have never had this problem with my headset, although with a wireless headset you could experience an issue when the battery is starting to run low.

SfB is designed to allow people to work from anywhere with any device and headsets win on the transportability factor, many of the Bluetooth headsets will also connect to both your laptop and mobile phone; perfect when you are on the move or tend not to work in the same place all the time. The one drawback is that if I am on conference calls for a number of hours a day a headset can start to hurt your ears a little. As a remote worker this is something to consider when choosing between the headset model, make sure you get something comfortable or schedule your calls a bit better!

I personally prefer a headset over a handset however I have never worked with a handset in the office. Handsets are a useful tool to make sure people transition to SfB, without the nervousness of moving from a handset to a headset (or for anybody who wouldn’t want to mess their hair up).

Each have their pro’s and con’s. When looking at Skype for Business make sure you take into consideration: how people usually work and how likely they are to want to use their device. We’ve seen projects be less successful than they should be due to the handset vs headset issue.

Profiling user groups is a fantastic way to understand which device would work best and having a flexible strategy is always a clever strategy. Make sure you look after your people so that you can ensure your skype for business project is a success. Yes, the simple choice between a headset and handset can be the difference between skype being embraced and reaping the benefits which come with it or people loathing the change.