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Employers, Take Note! New Study Finds that Noisy Offices Cause Turnover

9/6/2018 - 0 Comments
 
Do you work in an office where noise levels are similar to those in a crowded football stadium? From colleagues' reality TV discussions to personal phone calls and work-related chatter, noise is all too common in the pervasive open office plan. The open office was designed for collaboration, breaking down walls that could be barriers to information sharing. The unforseen consequences of this office design: a lack of privacy in a noisy, distracting environment.


Did you know that each distraction takes 23 minutes to recover from? This translates into thousands of lost hours each year at organizations, at a significant and costly impact.

In a new study commissioned by Plantronics, Oxford Economics found that 63 percent of employees say they lack quiet space for focused work, which has a negative effect on their productivity, satisfaction and well-being.

Other findings:
•Only 1 percent of employees say they can block out distractions in the office, without taking extra steps. This is a dramatic decline since this study was last done, in 2015; at that time, 20 percent of employees reported that they could block out distractions.
•96 percent of executives see employee productivity as critical to their financial performance, yet just 40 percent understand the link between noise, distraction and productivity.
•A mere 6 percent of executives report having equipped their office with noise mitigating features.
•Employees in the noisiest office environments are more likely to say they may leave their job in the next six months.

The open office plan is so pervasive that epidemic noise levels have now been reached worldwide, but is anyone paying attention? Executives, this is your wake-up call! It's time to fix the problem.

Contact us to learn how to navigate in noisy office environments (Here's a hint: headsets!).

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To Serve and Protect: Top-Level DECT Security Found in Jabra Engage Headsets

7/18/2018 - 0 Comments
 
Cybercrime and the theft of personal data is on the rise, and Jabra has risen to the challenge and built its newest DECT wireless headsets, the Engage series, with the wireless connection secured using 256-bit AES encryption, giving a line of defense that goes beyond that of DECT Security Level C.
Now you may be saying: "WAIT! WHOA! HOLD UP! Wireless headsets can cause a potential security breach?" The average person would not be able to "hack" into any wireless calls without having a pretty specific skill set; however, identity theft is a real concern for businesses handling personal data and sensitive conversations. Customers put their trust in the companies they choose to do business with, and the company must protect its customers with a proactive security culture.

The Jabra Engage has increased security of the wireless connection between the wireless headset and its base unit, and the rock-solid security is provided in 3 steps, which improve the protection of calls to a category-leading level.

Step 1: Pairing. This first step is a physical bonding of the base unit and headset. Jabra has patented "physical assisted pairing" to increase security. The Jabra assisted pairing method occurs only when the headset is docked in the base unit, and a secret link-key is then formed when the two pair. Wireless connection is secured with patented pairing; authentication between headset and base is established with 128-bit level technology compared to the category-standard 64-bit.

Step 2: Authentication. At the start of a call, encryption is used to set up secure authentication between the Engage headset and its base. A link is established using a secret key-link formed in the pairing (without this, the headset and base unit will not work together). This means that a "non-paired" headset cannot be used with the base unit. The authentication link is also protected by encryption. The better the encryption level, the more secure the established link.

Step 3: Encryption. During calls, the audio signal between base unit and headset transports data, which is secured via encryption. The higher encryption level, the better the protection of data. With Jabra Engage, the encryption link is renewed every minute to make decryption more difficult.

Security algorithms are listed in FIPS 140-2 standards required by the U.S. military and government, and recommended by the National Institute of Standards and Technology for financial institutions who demand the highest degree of security.

In addition, the Engage series enables 3 times as many people to work wirelessly in the same space, which is why Jabra says it was engineered as the world's most powerful professional wireless headset.

To learn more about the Jabra Engage series, contact our team of headset experts today: 1-866-998-9991.

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Plantronics Blackwire 5200 Series Headsets Offer Premium Features

7/12/2018 - 0 Comments
 
When today's workplace can be noisy and filled with distractions, device connectivity should be straightforward.

That's why the Blackwire 5200 series allows management of PC calls using USB or USB-C, or plug the 3.5 mm (this is found in the in-line call controller) into a smartphone or tablet. And the headsets are so comfortable, they can be worn all day. Similar to the USB port, the USB-C represents a new standard in the world of device compatibility and is becoming more prevalent in the latest PCs, smartphones and tablets.

In our testing of the Blackwire 5220 Duo, the feature that is immediately obvious and appreciated is the cushioned metal "sling" headband and large ear cushions comprised of ultra soft leatherette wrapped around memory foam. Yes, the very same memory foam found in mattresses, shoes, and pillows, is the secret ingredient of these ear cushions. Even those of us who wear glasses don't feel as though our ears are being "squeezed" into the side of our head. The headset is surprisingly lightweight, and comfortable enough to wear all day.

Most importantly, the headset has excellent sound - both inbound and outbound - with a flexible mic boom featuring noise-cancelling, so background noises aren't transmitted to your callers. Listening to music is an enjoyable experience with this headset, too.

Some Product Highlights:
•Ideal for all-day use, long conference calls and listening to multimedia
•Noise-cancelling microphone masks nearby talkers for maximum call privacy
•Variants include universal USB or USB-C
•Connectivity to smartphone and tablet via 3.5 mm
•In-line call controller with answer/end, volume up/down and mute
•Available in mono (Blackwire 5210) or hi-fi stereo with passive noise reduction (Blackwire 5220)

Product Variants:
Blackwire 5210 Mono USB and 3.5 mm
Blackwire 5210 Mono USB-C and 3.5 mm
Blackwire 5220 Duo USB and 3.5 mm
Blackwire 5220 Duo USB-C and 3.5 mm

Contact us today to learn more about these Blackwire headsets! 1-866-998-9991.

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Gamification Provides Mutual Benefits to Employer and Employees

5/23/2018 - 0 Comments
 
If you watched the recent NBA Draft Lottery, the event had a decidedly Vegas feel. With each of the bottom 14 teams in the league assigned chances based upon reverse order of this year’s record, excitement was created by watching the ping pong balls spin in the lottery machine – and, knowing the odds of the #1 pick for each team, the audience was clearly invested in the process.

This, says Darrin Briggs, President and CEO of Snowfly Incentives, is gamification in action. Gamification has become a common tool in today’s workplace to increase employee productivity, engagement, and job satisfaction.

When you think about it, the principles of gamification are all around us, such as at the grocery store, fitness apps, and Facebook. Briggs defines gamification as “Taking activities in life or in business and adding gaming aspects to an otherwise somewhat mundane activity.” Gamification does not mean playing video games necessarily; but it does involve reinforcing behaviors that will then have a positive outcome for the business and individual.

By creating small, incremental positive behaviors, a cultural shift occurs that moves everyone in the right direction. When these behaviors are tied to business goals, the program is meaningful to staff members. While gamification has taken a foothold in the business world, not all programs are created equally. Briggs estimates that 80 percent of companies administer gamification manually, while 20 percent use some sort of automated program.

Snowfly Incentives is one of these automated programs, offering an employee recognition and incentive system that uses principles of psychology and behavior modification. The business was created in 1999 by Dr. Brooks Mitchell, a behavioral psychologist, who specializes in workplace environments. Computer analysis, and now AI (Artificial Intelligence), utilized by Snowfly quickly determines what’s working, so that changes can be made on the fly for the most effective program tailored to each company.

This is a culture shift in the workplace. As Briggs says “it’s not a manager’s job to motivate people. What you have to do is create an environment where people feel valued and are motivated by whatever motivates them.” Snowfly knows that employees are motivated by different things: for some, it’s money; others prefer time off, the chance to wear jeans at work, a close-up parking spot … the list goes on.

“Our job is to create an environment to motivate people naturally,” says Briggs. “This does not mean you’re playing video games all day. It’s an aspect of taking something that has to do with gaming, but put it into an environment where you don’t see it.”

The Snowfly system has an interface that users log into, with a dashboard displaying their performance of different metrics, leaderboards, and standards. Employees can then “level up” (i.e. work their way up) to earn greater rewards. And Snowfly’s real-time incentives provide immediate rewards – there’s no waiting until the end of the week, month, or quarter to be awarded. Briggs says “If you want to change a behavior, you have to reinforce that behavior as quickly as possible after it was performed.” This goes back to Psychology, and the research of B.F. Skinner and Pavlov.

Another thing that makes Snowfly probably the most unique to the gamification market: by employing Vegas-style principles such as slot-machine style games, an aspect of luck (or chance) increases the effectiveness of the program and the long-term engagement by employees. For various goals met, employees are rewarded with tokens for game play, which then brings possibly larger rewards. The anticipation of the potential reward is part of the fun, and creates buy-in from employees. For employers, the costs are fairly minimal; however, the perceived value, says Briggs, is as much as 40 percent higher than the actual cost.

Gamification creates an environment where both employees and employers find mutual success; a well-placed and administered program is a win-win for all. For more information about Snowfly Incentives, and what they can offer your organization, contact Darrin Briggs at dbriggs@snowfly.com or 1-877-766-9359. Check out their web site, here: Snowfly Incentives.

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Sennheiser D 10 Wireless Headsets Now at a Lower Price!

5/3/2018 - 0 Comments
 
Sennheiser has lowered pricing on their single-connection wireless headsets, and it's time to take a closer look at this series.
The streamlined design of the Sennheiser D 10 wireless DECT headsets makes no compromises when it comes to exceptional sound. Its single connectivity to either a desk phone or softphone/PC makes it easy to "plug and play" ... simply roll out and manage — the perfect headset solution for all sizes of companies. D 10 puts the freedom of a wireless solution within reach of even more everyday users.

Why Wireless?


We recommend wireless headsets for businesses and contact centers alike, for several reasons.

The freedom that a wireless headset allows — such as leaving your desk to grab a file, consult a colleague, or pick up a product from a product table to provide customer support — can all be accomplished while helping customers during the phone call. Placing someone on hold for extended periods of time is no longer necessary!

Another benefit of using wireless headsets is the conferencing feature. Did you know that you can conference up to three additional wireless headsets to the same base unit, for a total of four users on the same call? Wow! No cords are necessary; the process is a simple docking on the main base unit during an active call, accept the additional headset(s) and boom! You're on the call. To end the conferencing feature, simply end the call and turn off all of the headsets.

The headset comes with two wearing styles: ear hook and over-the-head band. A neckband is also available, as an additional purchase. Please note, the click-on adapter from the HSA 20 accessory kit is needed for mounting the headset to the neckband.

D 10 comes in 3 variants:
  1. D 10 PHONE connects to desk phones. An EHS cable or handset lifter can be added to the order, so that you can answer and end calls away from your desk. Which one you need depends upon your desk phone; contact us and we can help determine what you need for remote answer capabilities.
  2. D 10 USB connects to a PC or laptop. Sennheiser software can be used to upgrade the headset firmware, which is available at no charge. The Software Updater can be found on Sennheiser web site; scroll to the Download End User version.
  3. D 10 USB ML connects to a PC or laptop and is the Microsoft-certified headset for Skype for Business/Lync. It is fully compatible with the Microsoft platforms.
With this new lower pricing, wireless headsets are a cost-effective option! The D 10 series from Sennheiser has a lot to offer — at a great price. Contact us today!

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