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Consultant's Toolbox: Headsets for Remote Work

Culture

Headset for remote work

Isos Technology is a great place to work. It is comprised of lots of awesome and passionate technologists. Part of that passion means we spend hours each day talking to customers, educating them on the entire Atlassian ecosystem. We're Atlassian fan boys/girls... loud (literally) and proud!

Flying in the face of what a lot of our job entails, there are two big obstacles:

  1. Open Office Plan: Isos management caught the open floor plan bug six years ago. Don't believe all the haters, it has actually been a pretty good experiment. However, conducting client calls and internal remote meetings has been a challenge.
  2. On the road... a lot: Isos does business all over the world. Therefore, we are on the road... a lot. Starbucks is often our remote office. External noise is a huge problem.

Between these two factors, Isos technology can sound more like a Geico call center in Omaha than a world-class professional services organization from a client's audio point of view.

Headset Solution Part I

A few Isos associates went on the hunt for a good, low cost audio solution... and we it!

It was cheap, yet it had high quality sound (and outside sound masking.) It was great!

However it had a few problems, which this picture will illustrate:

As for the ear muffs, clients could hear me... but I could not hear them (not so awesome). And as for breaking, I personally went through three sets in two years.

Finally, it wasn't a great fit for cell phones. You can plug them into some Android phones that have USB-C connectors (sorry iPhone folks,) but it is very awkward and you can't charge at the same time as you use the headset.

We needed another way!

Headset Solution Part II - Electric Boogaloo

Based on our experience of our beloved USB headset, here is what our new requirements were:

  1. Wireless - No more wired messes and shorted wires
  2. USB - We still wanted the option to connect to any device via USB dongle (wirelessly) and not have to use bluetooth
  3. HQ Bluetooth - Many headset options have great wireless USB connectivity, but when you do bluetooth it sounds like you are talking via two tin cans connected by a string (I'm looking at you Apple AirPods).
  4. All Day Use - Many wireless options die out at 6 hours of heavy use. Here at Isos we do long days from time to time. We need headsets that can keep up.
  5. ANC - We need active noise cancellation. We need to be able to hear clients, they need to be able to hear us. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT FEATURE!!!

Meet Our Challengers

After a long search and reading sites like "Wirecutter", we settled on two finalists.  Here's the mini-review of both:

Jabra Evolve 75 - How does it rate?

Feature
Notes
Score
(1-5)
Comfort It is ok. After wearing it all day your ears do feel a little cramped. 3
Battery Great! I got at least 10 hours a day if not more. 5
USB The wireless USB worked pretty good. Sometime devices got confused. 4
Bluetooth The best! Worked on two devices at once, HIGH QUALITY, and paired nicely. 5
ANC Worked great! Not Bose, but not bad for a call center-like headset. 4
Mic Great. Worked in Starbucks and no one could test. Loud office who cares! 5
Price It is a little pricey. However, there are much more expensive ones out there. 3
    Total
    29

 

Plantronics Voyager Focus - How does it rate?

Feature
Notes
Score
(1-5)
Comfort Great... like clouds on your ears! 5
Battery Good! I got at least 8 hours a day if not more. 4
USB The wireless USB worked pretty well. 4
Bluetooth Not great. Worked on two devices at once. But again, the quality was spotty on both PCs and phones. 2
ANC Worked good! Not Bose, but not bad for a general headset. 4
Mic It worked well. In offices it worked fine, but in Starbucks it sometime struggled. 3.5
Price Price perfect. A lot of headphone for the price. 5
    Total
    27.5

 

Who Won?

If you go by the numbers, it is close, but the Jabra edges out the Plantronics. I wish the Jabra had the price and comfort of the Plantronics. THAT would be the prefect headset.

However, I had to make a choice and despite the higher price, I went for the Jabra. The two features that won me over were:

  • High quality bluetooth connectivity
  • Noise cancelation at the mic

I can basically be on my phone at Sky Harbor airport on an import client demo, with no one being the wiser. Amazing!

Have any questions on either set, let us know!

Managing JIRA at Scale White Paper

TAGS: Culture

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