My new office is on the ninth floor of a 10-floor office building in town and while there is an elevator â€“ and it usually works — I’ve been taking the stairs anyway. Every time I do, I think of this (above) scene from Mad Men so I thought I’d share it here with you. Among the many things I have learned from those guys at Sterling and Cooper: Do not take the stairs after a 6-martini, 3-dozen-oyster, and double-helping-of-cheesecake lunch — especially if I’m late for a phone meeting. But then I (unfortunately) don’t have Don Draper egging me on.
In addition to digitizing all that can be made immaterial in the past few weeks, I have been squirreling away office gadgets to celebrate my transition to more corporate environs. Yesterday I broke out my new VOIP headset to take for a spin and I am happy to report that I am very pleased. (I cover VOIP rather thoroughly in my bookÂ if you want a deeper explanation.) I think I have mentioned here that I use a Skype phone for almost everything? It’s cheap, portable and full of features the Ma Bell variety never brought. The puzzle of Skype â€“ and any VOIP phone service â€“ is not in using it but in getting the phone accessory that makes it work for your personal situation. There are phones that operate without a computer, cheap headsets that plug into the mike and speaker ports on your computer, headsets that plug into the USB port, and wireless headsets. I have been hankering for the latter.
I like wireless because I like to walk around while on the phone. My new office has a terrific view and I like to enjoy it. And being in motion helps me to be articulate. But when it comes to headsets, wireless can mean a lot of things — many of them synonymous with crappy sound. At this point, most people assume Bluetooth wireless when I say “headset.”
I have tried a number of Bluetooth wireless headsets and have yet to find one that delivers the sound quality I need in my office. Don’t get me wrong! I love my tiny Bluetooth headset. I installed a Bluetooth dongle to my desktop and downloaded a bit of software and now that jewelry-sized ear bud answers my Skype phone or my cell phone. (I think I look like a dork when I’m wearing it but my kids are always very impressed.) Â I don’t have to fumble around to switch headsets to answer the phone or sit still while I’m talking. It’s way convenient and I use it frequently. But the sound quality is not up to my standards. When I’m doing a phone interview or any lengthy, important conversation, I always switch to my old standby corded headset.
But I recently got a Jabra GN9350eÂ to try out. It uses 6.8 kHz frequency cordless phone wireless technology and operates with a VOIP phone or a standard phone. It will even work with both my desk phone (if I had one) and my Skype phone at the same time.
It was effortless to set up. I plugged the base into a USB port, plugged the power into the wall, charged the headset, and told Skype to use it instead of my old corded headset. The hardest part was deciding how I wanted to wear it. But the beauty part is the sound quality. It is outstanding from every corner of my (not very big) office. At nearly $400 (list) this is a serious business indulgence. But since I pay almost nothing for my phone (Skype is $3 a month for unlimited calling in the US and Canada), I figure I’m still way ahead of the game.