Print is dead. Tablets are the future.
People love to declare old technologies obsolete and hail the new thing as the perfect replacement. On some “technologies,” like tape cassettes, we can all agree. But what about the traditional desktop phone?
Wired? Or Less.
In our personal lives, many of us have made a complete switch to having no landline at all. The desktop phone in the workplace is the only wired phone many people ever touch. It makes sense to wonder whether its days are numbered.
In certain industries–like the hotel, hospital, or education industries–it is safe to say that the desktop phone isn’t going anywhere for a long time. Laws, regulations, and social norms require traditional phones in many locations. In the office, employees also need phones in places where no one is permanently stationed, like meeting rooms and shared spaces.
In an overwhelming number of work roles, people clearly have the ability to ditch the desktop phone and use USB headsets that are Lync-enabled to connect to a “soft” phone. So, is it worth it—keeping all costs and benefits in mind—to move beyond the desktop phone?
A Phones-to-Phone Comparison
Using a USB headset without a phone allows us to clear some space on the desk. It lets all employees enjoy hands-free multitasking without being tethered to a phone. Acknowledging the intangible benefits of switching to USB headsets, businesses still have to look at the cost comparison between the capital expenditures and ongoing expenses of different phone systems.
The traditional desktop phone has moderate costs and operating expenses. Even assuming that the user will go through one wired headset every year, the cost of a desktop phone will be the purchase price (up to about $200) plus $100 to $200 per year, per user.
You can find a high-quality, Lync-enabled headset for around $100. Assuming that it, too, will need to be replaced at some point during the employee’s tenure with the company, the Lync system may appear to be less expensive to implement.
Just don’t forget about Bluetooth expenses. Wireless is virtually necessary for many employees. They also get lost or broken frequently—perhaps more often than USB headsets do. Expecting to eat the cost of two employee Bluetooth headsets per year, businesses face around $400 annually to outfit employees with Bluetooth headsets.
Phones of the Future
If all things are equal, a business may decide on getting rid of desktop phones based on how important it is to the business to have the traditional, reliable phone present or to move forward completely with the newest technology.
One option would be to leave it up to the employee to obtain his or her own Bluetooth headset. It’s a bit personal, and making it a BYOD device could be the needed motivation for employees to take care of the Bluetooth and replace it infrequently. If the company is going to cover all the costs, however, expect the USB headset and Bluetooth to have a maximum of $500 in capital and operating expenditures compared to the $100 to $200 per year of desktop phone expenses.
In the end, a business needs to judge how the benefits of Bluetooth and freed-up desk space really impact employees’ comfort and productivity. Being realistic about costs, good desktop phones may offer enough long-term savings that a business should not yet ditch the phone altogether. If Lync-enabled headsets and Bluetooth are a must, consider BYOD or other measures to make them last.