Picture this: It’s Monday morning, and you’re running late. In a few hours, you have an important presentation with the VP of sales. You’ve been working on your slides non-stop for days, and your boss just asked for some last-minute changes. You still need to verify some of the sales numbers with finance, too. You get into your car and drive to your trendy downtown office building. There are no assigned seats here, so you find one of the few available desks, unpack your laptop, and prepare to jump in as quickly as you can.

Suddenly you hear it – the person sitting at the desk across from yours just finished a workout at the gym. Now he is noisily slurping down a post-workout protein shake. Behind you, two other people are talking excitedly about the latest episode of that over-hyped TV show (hello spoilers!).  There are no empty conference rooms, so with a sigh, you sit down at your desk again, and put in your mobile phone earbuds to hopefully drown out some of the distractions.

If you’ve spent any time in an office lately, this will sound familiar! Many organizations have embraced the open office plan over the last few years.  At Cisco, we have renovated many offices and built open and collaborative workspaces. Without cubicle walls and filled with comfortable couches and barstools instead of meeting rooms, these new spaces are great for the type of spontaneous, collaborative teamwork that powers today’s agile teams. But not everyone loves an open office plan. What happens when you need to get stuff done, and need to spend time on tasks that demand focus? Just as we face constant distractions from email and social media alerts, we also deal with constant noise distractions in the open workplace. This can mean countless hours of lost productivity and additional stress, and a significant decrease in our ability to do “deep work.”

You can’t bring your own walls and office door to work with you, but you can do the next best thing. Unlike earbuds, using a dedicated office headset means you can finally get some of that long-awaited peace and quiet.

This all sounds great, so why is everyone still using earbuds or trying to push through distraction without a headset? In reality, many office workers find headsets to be more trouble than they’re worth. Sometimes the headset doesn’t work properly or is a real pain to set up and configure. Maybe it doesn’t work with a particular laptop and a phone at the same time. Maybe the audio quality isn’t great, and the person on the other end of the call may struggle to hear you over the sound of chaos. Calls can drop unexpectedly, and it can be difficult for the IT team to know which link in the communications chain is causing the problem.

Choosing the right headset can help you stay focused on what you’re doing, whether it’s talking to someone on a call, listening to music, or participating in a webinar. But as companies try to squeeze more desks into a crowded open office, wireless Bluetooth headsets can interfere with one another if they’re too close together.

We designed our headsets specifically for the open workplace. Cisco Headsets are lightweight and comfortable. They feature impressive noise isolation and sophisticated microphone technology that zeroes in on the sound of your voice, instead of that hammering noise from upstairs. A range of connectivity options, including available DECT wireless models, means you can stay connected when you’re on a coffee break or trying to get your 10,000 daily steps. And with the latest version of Cisco Unified Communications Manager 12.5 SU1, administrators can deploy and manage Cisco Headsets directly from within their existing UC infrastructure, without any additional software, licenses, or subscription fees. Say goodbye to compatibility problems between different phone and headset manufacturers and endless mysteries about the source of call quality issues.

Check out our video below to learn more about how Cisco headsets can help bring some sanity back to the open workplace.



Andy Johnston

Solutions Marketing Manager