When you think of ergonomics, it’s easy to get an image in your head of things like posture, and ergonomic aids such as specially designed office chairs, raisable desks, ergonomically designed mice, and having a monitor at just the right viewing height to name a few. But one device that many times is left out of the conversation is headsets.
Headsets are devices that not only come in all shapes and sizes, but are key in preventing worker injuries that stem from cradling a phone receiver on the shoulder. This is the act of pinching the phone receiver against the ear as it rests on the shoulder. A practice, by the way, we don’t recommend you do.
Who needs a pain in the neck?
Nobody wants pain and discomfort when they’re at work. For most of us, work itself is challenging enough without adding physical, and mental discomfort. For those who engage in the act of cradling phones on the shoulder, it is normally not a case of whether you’ll develop physical issues from doing that, but a matter of when.
Physical trauma associated with phone cradling include things like:
- A sore neck
- Tingling, or numbness in the shoulder, neck or arm
- Pinched nerves in the back or neck
- And in more extreme cases, mini-strokes. You read that right, mini-strokes.
It was documented that the act of cradling a phone receiver on the shoulder can actually bring on a mini-stroke as was documented in this article in the Guardian. Nobody wants these physical conditions, and for sure nobody wants to risk having a mini-stroke by cradling a phone receiver. But the good news is all that can be avoided by simply using a good quality headset that’s right for you. But even finding the proper headset takes some exploring. Just like finding the right ergonomic chair, the right desk or the myriad of other ergonomic related devices, your search can be aided by an industry professional.
Get the professionals involved
Having an ergonomic assessment is a good idea for anyone who spends their day at a desk, uses a computer and is on calls throughout the day. And when you think about it, that describes most anyone who works in an office.
Having industry experts who’s trained in the various aspects of proper body mechanics in the office, and have knowledge of the available devices, can help individuals to avoid serious, even debilitating work related injuries, and help to keep absenteeism to a minimum.
Hiring an Ergonomist can be beneficial to your company and your employees.
- You can receive a risk analysis to help understand where you currently stand
- You’ll understand what areas within your organization need to be addressed
- You’ll know exactly what you can do to be proactive and avoid problems
- You’ll be sending a message to your staff that you care about their health and well being which improves their perception of the company, and satisfaction.
- Ergonomic assessments can help improve worker productivity
- Having workers set up with proper ergonomics can reduce worker absenteeism
Employers aren’t ergonomics savvy
There are so many things that employers don’t consider when establishing a workstation for employees, because they’re not trained to understand them. After all, how can employers know about all the nitty gritty details of ergonomics when they’re fighting to grow their business, or to even facing daily struggles to stay in business? The truth is, they have other, more urgent things to worry about like keeping the lights on, and the doors open.
But that doesn’t mean that ergonomics should be disregarded, because ignoring this can easily come back to haunt you in the form of work related injuries, absenteeism, worker dissatisfaction, turnover and even worker compensation claims, all of which can be very costly to any business.
So the takeaway message is to be proactive, and make ergonomics a part of your processes whether that’s having an in-house Ergo Department, or hiring an outside company. And when you do a Google search for Ergonomics companies, there are a lot that show up in the search results. You can choose from national, regional and even local companies to help you improve your ergonomic posture (pun intended).
Back to headsets
I started out this blog by saying that headsets are many times overlooked when it comes to giving thought about the term ergonomics. Admittedly it isn’t always overlooked, but headsets can many times find their way to the back seat giving way to other, more top of mind devices like ergonomic keyboards, monitor risers, stand up desks, ergonomic chairs and the list goes on. Still, headsets play a crucial role within the ergonomic framework.
- They help to keep employees from cradling the phone on their shoulder which is well-known to be a health risk
- Headsets allow you to comfortably have both hands free to use a keyboard
- They provide enhanced audio characteristics that give your callers a better experience, but can also give the employee a better hearing experience too.
- Headsets allow you to multi-task, especially wireless models
- Headsets contribute to helping an employee feel happier, and be more productive. Here’s an article by Survey Monkey titled “Why having happy employees matters”
Why even use a headset in the first place?
Aside from the points just mentioned, there are a lot of reasons to use a headset, and for sure, it’s a good idea to consider headsets in any ergonomic evaluation. But when it comes to choosing a headset, which one is best? After all, there are so many different makes and models which makes narrowing it down to one model a real challenge. If you’ve ever been faced with making headset decisions, you can probably relate to what I’m talking about. But here are some things for you to consider that might help to make that task just a little bit easier.
First, it’s important to know that there’s no such thing as one size fits all when it comes to buying a headset for yourself, or when outfitting a team. There’s just too many variables that need to be considered, such as:
- Do any employees get headaches from headband style headsets? If so, they should be identified so they’re not provided with a headband style headset.
- Do any employees prefer to have one ear uncovered so they can hear what’s going on around them? If you have employees with this preference, then a mono style headset would be appropriate for them.
- Are there any employees who prefer to wear a headset over the ear? This could be someone who gets headaches from things worn over the head, but also someone who simply has that wearing style preference.
- Are there any employees who are hard of hearing, or hearing sensitive? The point here is special needs should be taken into account before providing them with a headset because it may prove to be ineffective. Here are some bullet points from the National Institute on Health regarding hearing disorders in the U.S.
- Is there a lot of background noise in the workplace? If you work in a Call Center, for example, which is widely known to be a noisy place, then having a headset with a good noise canceling microphone is a must.
- What devices need to be connected to, such as desk phones, computers, mobile devices? The point here is to make sure that the headset you get is matched to what you need connecting to. But don’t overlook where your company’s technology is headed because if possible, you’ll want your current headsets to be forward compatible to what connection needs lay ahead.
- What headset noise reduction features are best suited for my specific needs? This is important to consider because noise levels vary from office to office. But, reducing it for your callers, and for your employees is very important because it helps to give your callers a clear, professional sound, and your employees won’t be distracted by the noise going on around them, making them happier, and more productive.
Here’s a good place to start
A good starting point is getting connected with a company that specializes in headsets and has deep knowledge and understanding, as well as good reviews. Companies like these can help determine the best headset for you based on your specific needs. It’s just like when you hire an ergonomics company, you’re getting someone who’s skilled and knowledgeable about the ways to help keep your employees safe, comfortable and productive. A professional headset company can help you to avoid getting the wrong headsets that can result in:
- Headsets that aren’t compatible with your communication hardware/software.
- Headsets that have poor sound quality, and noise reduction
- Headsets that are uncomfortable leading to low adoption rates, and absenteeism
- Headsets that do not provide for future connectivity needs
- Wasted time, and unnecessary added expenses
One company that specializes in headsets, and has for almost 30 years, and has earned over 700 5-Star Google reviews is Headset Advisor. As their name implies, they provide tailored advice, so they’d be one company worth considering. Here’s how they can be reached.
Whichever company you do choose, make sure that they have a singular focus, and not a company that includes headsets as only one product offering in a wide range of products. Diversity in products won’t allow you to get the headset expert advice that you need and deserve.
Every business situation is different, just like every individual’s personal needs and preferences are different. But if you employ the use of a good Ergonomics company, and follow their advice, you can rest assured that your employees will be happier, healthier and even more productive at work. And at the end of the day, those are things that really matter.