Business today moves at a rapid pace. Customer requirements and market dynamics are constantly changing, so businesses are working hard to keep up or, preferably, stay ahead of the curve.
To do that, organizations are trying to make the most of their most valuable assets: their employees. So they are investing in collaboration and communications tools to enable their people to more easily and efficiently work together – and with customers and partners – wherever they are. Many businesses are also breaking down walls and organizational hierarchies that used to separate employees from one another in favor of shared workspaces and more level playing fields to encourage teamwork and higher employee engagement.
“Flatter organizational charts are meant to drive quicker decision making and are pushing the need for alignment and coordination to all levels of the company,” according to a recent research paper from Jabra (News - Alert). “In some respects, however, making communication easier and making colleagues more available, has made the organization more inefficient.”
You probably know from experience what that means, and a look at the numbers in the chart on this page illustrates the reality for all of us. While collaboration can be beneficial, many of us frequently run in to technical difficulties when initiating meetings and those who dial in remotely may struggle to hear what’s being discussed once the meetings begin. Meanwhile, shared office space can make for a noisy environment. Office equipment, heating and cooling systems, and background chatter can make it difficult to hear people on the other end of the phone, and make it more challenging to focus on work that’s of a more solitary nature. Open environments also increase the chance of unwanted interruptions. All of the above can result in decreased productivity when the key goal of collaboration is to drive new productivity.
Jabra addresses some of these productivity barriers with new Jabra EVOLVE headsets and SPEAK 810 conference call speakerphones.
The Jabra EVOLVE line of headsets is noteworthy because it empowers knowledge workers to reclaim control of their own working conditions.
The headsets eliminate unwanted low-frequency background noise such as heating and air conditioning and office chatter, and features passive and active noise cancellation to protect against high-frequency noise. An in-line controller fitted with a USB connector allows Jabra EVOLVE users to interface with office phones and PCs to pick up or end calls, control volume, and turn on mute – all with the touch of a button. The Jabra EVOLVE 80 and 40 offer a feature called Jabra Intelligent Call Transfer, which allows users to transfer Lync/Skype (News - Alert) for Business calls to their smartphones. This comes in handy when a meeting is running over and workers need to continue the conversation from a different location.
Jabra EVOLVE headsets also have a signal light that users can activate to indicate to those around them that they are busy. Employees can also use the 3.5 mm jack to connect to their personal devices to listen to music.
“An individual’s workspace is constantly evolving, and with companies expanding and changing how they lay out offices, background noise plays a huge role in concentration,” says Holger Reisinger, head of business solutions at Jabra. “We can’t change or expand the physical workspace of the employees, but virtually we can with technology. Active noise cancellation is just one example of the technology productivity solutions that can help a knowledge worker control his or her own personal concentration zone.”
Jabra SPEAK 810, meanwhile, is a professional-quality conference call speakerphone for use in larger environments. It’s ideal for conference calls in meeting rooms of up to 1,076 square feet with 15 people or more in one room.
This new solution complements the personal experience delivered by the smaller, portable SPEAK 410 and 510 products from Jabra. With Bluetooth, USB, and 3.5mm jack connectivity options, the Jabra SPEAK 810 works with all types of smart devices and integrates seamlessly with all communication platforms – eliminating the need for dial pad solutions and challenging the traditional hardware approach to conference calling. It offers plug-and-play connectivity with any device within seconds, and full compatibility with UC systems and VoIP clients from Avaya, Cisco, IBM (News - Alert) Sametime, Microsoft Skype for Business, and Skype.
The Jabra SPEAK 810 ZoomTalk intelligent directional microphone focuses on the speaker to pick up his or her voice, and only that voice, filtering out background noise. Jabra SPEAK 810 is main-powered, and users can charge their tablets and smartphones while participating in meetings that use the conference call speakerphone.
So, not only does that Jabra SPEAK 810 make the most of employee time by ensuring everybody can hear every word, it offers the added benefit of quick meeting setup via its expedited pairing with communications devices and systems, and even the ability for users to ensure their smart devices are charged and ready to go following the meeting.
“Businesses have to facilitate a unique balance of collaboration and concentration. To date they have made great strides in enabling workers to achieve more through collaboration, and they must do this while ensuring employees don’t lose time trying to use ineffective technology; otherwise, organizations are wasting resources each time a worker fails to conduct a conference call or meeting,” Reisinger says. “While this remains a challenge, businesses also have to consider achieving productivity in employee’s concentration time. An adaptable workspace depending on the individual, task, or job role is the new way of working businesses must accommodate.”
Statistics on Workplace Productivity Challenges
• Workers spend 66 percent of their time at their desks, so it is where the most significant productivity gains can be made or lost.
• Employees working at office desks face up to 17 different distractions throughout the working day.
• Noise is a major distraction. Sixty-nine percent of all knowledge workers claim that a noisy open office environment negatively impacts their productivity. Forty-six percent think noise levels are the most distracting issue in the office.
• Nonetheless, shared workspaces are multiplying in number and shrinking in size. These environments have gone from 50 to 20 square meters of workspace within a couple decades, during which the number of knowledge workers has doubled. And it’s expected to drop to less than 10 square meters by 2020.
• As for meetings, 92 percent see them as essential to success.
• Yet 63 percent experience technical issues when starting up meetings. As a result, 36 percent of those surveyed feel productivity is reduced.
• A third of conference calls are delayed due to setup issues with connections and speakerphones, so 15 percent of meeting time is spent on getting started.
• One of the most common frustrations is poor sound quality.
Edited by Kyle Piscioniere