Does worrying about hiring new employees keep you up at night? As the economy adds more jobs, small business owners are challenged to find top talent, and it’s one of their major concerns, according to Wasp Barcode in its 2015 State of Small Business Report. In response many small businesses are offering flexible, mobile and remote work options to attract new hires, a Plantronics survey found.

Considering the challenge in finding new employees, you want to make sure that whoever you hire is as productive as possible. But here’s where another problem comes in. Today, 75 percent of workplaces have open plans. While the goal of taking down walls was to facilitate collaboration and communication by making it easier for employees to access each other, the open-space office is having the opposite effect. Employees are finding it hard to focus and to conduct phone calls in the open-space office because of noise and other distractions. The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) found that 70 percent of office workers believe their productivity would be higher if their environment was less noisy.

To combat noise, some offices have created small conference areas so employees can get away from the din of the open-space. Some of these larger conference areas have audio and video conferencing capabilities so team members can engage with remote employees or customers. SpiceWorks, the virtual IT community, built call booths to enable sales and account reps who sit in classic ‘sales pits’ to conduct a call in private and without background noise.

Headsets can enhance productivity

Companies also are outfitting their teams with headsets, which enable employees to create their own space with preferred music or even white noise and to hear and be heard clearly while on a call in the office or on the road. As an example, the just announced Plantronics Voyager Focus UC headset provides noise cancellation (ANC) and dynamic Hi-Fi stereo. It also works seamlessly across Bluetooth-enabled desk phones, laptops, mobile phones, tablets, and smart watches, which further aids productivity and efficiency.

Companies like Vamp Communications, which makes cloud-based voice applications, use Plantronics wireless headsets to manage calls coming in over desk phones and Skype. Vamp Communications president and CTO Michael Tindall explains that “One of our software developers might Skype me with a question and I want to conference in someone to resolve the issue. I can just dial my desk phone and get someone else on the call.” The wireless headset bridges the two phone systems.

Wireless headsets also make work more streamlined, especially in cases where a customer call requires finding information filed somewhere else in the office or conferring with a colleague in another part of the building. By using a wireless headset, you don’t need to put the caller on hold or offer to call back while you get the information. For Reavis Rehab and Wellness Center being able to stay on a call while looking for information saves times and helps expedite patient service reimbursement. Billing manager Marlene Koter, who deals with insurance companies, explains that there’s a risk a busy insurer might hang up if you leave them on hold too long.

Tami Winn, Reavis Rehab front desk coordinator, also can handle patients more efficiently with the use of her wireless headset. In addition to checking patients in and out, Winn takes incoming calls. Sometimes a call requires accessing patient information on the computer, which was difficult when she had to try to hold the phone at the same time. Also, when Winn was away from her desk and a call came in, she had to search for a free phone. Now with the aid of a Plantronics wireless headset, Winn can be hands free while using the computer and answer a call from anywhere in the office.

When it comes to your small business team, let the choice be theirs about how they work as well as where.

To learn more about boosting productivity and efficiency at your small business, learn about Plantronics Smarter Working and headset solutions for office, mobile and virtual workers.