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Tuesday, 26 October 2021 08:38

The consequence of knowledge workers using the wrong tools

By David Piggott
David Piggott, Managing Director A/NZ at Jabra David Piggott, Managing Director A/NZ at Jabra

GUEST OPINION: It’s been nearly two years since the world changed following the first global outbreak of COVID-19. In that time, we have experienced significant changes and developments across society. Political upheavals have come and gone, social media has become an even more unstoppable behemoth, and the concept of the ‘office’ is today borderline unrecognisable.

Think back to pre-March 2020. At that time, less than a quarter of Australians were working from home one or more days in a week. Move forward a year and this number nearly doubled to 41 per cent, and it’s exponentially growing. COVID-19 pulled us out of our open-plan offices, away from our standing-desks and water-cooler conversations, and planted us in our bedrooms and on our kitchen tables with nothing but a laptop. And it turns out, many of us loved the change, with 90 per cent of Australians now saying their ideal work environment is either wholly remote or a hybrid of in-office and work-from-home.

Jabra Evolve2 75 Lifestyle Female Home Office Microsoft Teams Medium

During Australia’s first lockdown, many corporations scrambled to equip their workforce with appropriate tools to help them work from home productively. Second monitors, wireless mouses and keyboards, and appropriate seating were all top of the shopping list, but one crucial component of the WFH toolkit was missed: communications technology.

In 2021, the number one soft skill sought out by employers is communication. However, the way we communicate has transformed considerably and is now heavily dependent on the technology we utilise. From Microsoft Teams to Zoom and even the humble phone call, time spent on audio and/or video calls has massively grown due to the pandemic and resulting in increased remote work habits. From team catch-ups and brainstorms to one-on-one sales pitches all the way up to presentations to virtual audiences of hundreds, knowledge workers are dependent on technology to communicate, collaborate, and execute. But many of them are restricted in their ability to do this, hamstrung by constant interruptions, questions of ‘can you hear me', and glazed looks from disinterested audiences due to inferior communications technology.

In 2021, the majority of knowledge workers still rely on consumer-grade headphones or internal computer audio for workplace communications. This means they’re either using the headphones that came with their phone, or not using headphones at all. For some professions, this is unlikely to cause too much disruption. The background noise of lawnmowers and dogs barking can on occasion be laughed away, and you can generally repeat yourself if needed to your colleagues. However, if your job relies on your ability to speak, persuade, and deliver messages, using non-enterprise-grade audio technology is akin to playing cricket with a tennis racquet.

Consider a CEO presenting to their board of investors, or a salesperson pitching a potential client. Pre-pandemic, these communicators often had a captive audience right in front of them. They could shake their hand, speak directly to them, and have productive conversations face-to-face. But even your strongest communicator is only as good as the tools they have to work with. Issues like subpar microphone technology or unfiltered background noise result in communicators being unable to effectively connect with their audience. Their ability to tell a story and engage with someone is limited. Likewise, if the communicator cannot clearly hear the questions being asked of them, they cannot develop appropriate responses.

Often, these impacts will be incremental. Consumer-grade headsets might not fail completely, but their shortfalls will be noticed over time, often causing a constant, small hindrance. Like riding a bike with the brakes slightly on, you’ll never reach your full potential if you can’t easily be heard and understood.

Enterprise-grade audio technology like Jabra’s Evolve range is specifically engineered for concentration, collaboration, and communication. Advanced Active-Noise-Cancellation (ANC) allows workers to focus in any environment, filtering out background noise and providing complete control of atmospheric noise.

Jabra Evolve2 75 Contextual Office Desk Zoom Small

Intelligent microphone technology and digital signal processing algorithms are engineered for outstanding call performance in noisy environments, allowing a speaker to be heard and understood in any space, whether it’s the office, bedroom, train station or cafe. UC-certification ensures headsets work seamlessly across any UC platform including Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Google Meets and more. Meanwhile, longer battery life and increased investment in ergonomics allow workers to comfortably keep headsets on all day, every day.

To learn more about Jabra’s enterprise-grade audio technology and hybrid work solutions for you and your employees, head to jabra.com.au/business/

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