As the business world evolves from an entirely office-based model to a new hybrid workplace model, we are all adopting a new way of working.
For example, IT now routinely provides tech support to thousands of employees whose technology and equipment they cannot directly see or handle. And employees are learning to get by as they go back and forth between the office and a home environment that may not be ideal for working.
For some, that means participating in meetings with whatever headset or webcam they have on hand – whether optimized for business or not. Or relying on their laptop’s built-in hardware for video conferencing. That can be a problem because laptop audio and video capabilities are often subpar, and do little to recreate the in-person experience or create a sense of immersion.
What remote employees really need to be at their best is to be able to transition fluidly between the office and home, or other remote workspaces. One way IT can help employees–and the IT organization itself–is to provide a set of personal collaboration tools that employees can use when working remotely. It might include a purpose-built headset and webcam in addition to the standard mouse/keyboard/monitor combination.
Why It’s Important to Provide Employees with Purpose-Built Headsets and Webcams
Employees who had never worked from home before learned some hard lessons quickly. Many realized, for example, what IT already knows: consumer-grade audio and video equipment are not ideal for business.
While great for many applications, such as gaming or music, consumer devices are not optimized for video meetings because they:
- Often lack noise-canceling technology to help both the speaker and listener focus on what’s being said.
- Are not certified or optimized to work with video conferencing software from vendors such as Google, Microsoft, and Zoom.
- Don’t include features employees want, like voice-level adjustment and high-res video, that help users look and sound their best.
These same limitations apply to the embedded audio and video in laptops. And laptops have another disadvantage as well: their cameras, mics, and speakers are useless when the screen is closed, as it often is when the laptop is attached to a remote keyboard, mouse, and monitor.
By contrast, consider the benefits of business-grade headsets and webcams.
Webcams designed for the enterprise typically have:
- Better resolution, framerate, field of view, and lens quality, enabling people to look their best and feel like they are in the same room
- Adjustable mounting so users can position the camera at eye-level
- Automatic adjustment for lighting conditions, which is very important in home offices where lighting is seldom ideal
- Integrations with video software providers to support problem-free meetings
- Privacy shutter for user reassurance when the camera is not in use and the separation of home and work