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Hold The Phone

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.

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This article was originally published in the July 1997 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Hold The Phone.

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