Once used almost exclusively by telephone operators, headsets are moving into offices and onto the heads of white-collar workers ranging from secretaries to executives.
Even if you're on the phone as little as two hours a day, you may benefit from switching from a traditional handset to a telephone headset. Headsets improve productivity by freeing up your hands, and they reduce neck and shoulder pain by eliminating the need to cradle a handset between your shoulder and ear.
According to Ron Becht, vice president of product marketing for Hello Direct Inc., a headset manufacturer and marketer in San Jose, California, a person who spends four hours a day on the phone can recoup the cost of a headset in just 12 days based on improved productivity. (Headsets typically cost between $119 and $450 for the cordless variety.) Becht offers the following guidelines for choosing the right headset:
1. Consider your typical phone environment. If it's noisy, you'll probably want a unit that covers both ears.
2. Determine how much weight you're comfortable wearing on your head.
3. If you don't want a band across the top of your head, shop for a model that wraps around your ear.
4. If you need mobility, consider a cordless unit.