The dream of working at home is often condensed to the freedom of being able to work in your pajamas. That is certainly a possibility but I don’t recommend it too often. How professional do you feel in your pajamas?!
I can feel quite professional in jeans, a t-shirt and fluffy slippers but somehow, the p.j.’s pushes the limit for me! I feel like lazin’ around in my p.j.’s. I think you’ll find that productivity rises when you’re dressed! I don’t think you need the 3-piece suit and tie (maybe you do) but feeling professional is part of being professional.
Another couple reasons that you may not want to work in your pajamas: Skype and Google Hangouts!
Whether you are working at home for your employer or you are an entrepreneur building your own business, being professional is the top goal here.
When your boss calls, you don’t want the baby crying and the dog barking and your neighbor dropping by with a six pack! You want your boss to think that you have a professional office, all the necessary resources to get your work done, and that you can be relied upon to get the job done no matter where you are on the planet!
It’s perception folks. The boss knows you are working at home and that you have a baby and there’s a good chance that the baby cries now and then. But the boss (or your prospective client) doesn’t want to see or hear or be interrupted by that cry!
Your boss wonders if the baby is crying now, how many times is this happening on client calls? And you see the whole downward spiral …
I am aware of the year. I know a teenager who reminds me that it is century 21! And yet when you are a woman working at home, you need to be more conscious than ever of background sounds. Although people will tell you that they respect people working at home, they are judging that you are just a little lady making some pin money while the kids are napping.
When you are a “little” entrepreneur talking to a much bigger potential client, you also want to sound professional and put-together and in control. You may be working on a corner of your kitchen counter with a bag of onions as a papwer weight. But let your client envision you in a large office, with windows looking out onto a manicured yard with a pool into which you will be jumping just as soon as your meeting is over – the advantages of working at home!
And finally, remember Murphy, from Murphy’s law? Don’t underestimate him. You know that the dog could sleep quietly at your feet until the minute that big client calls. Your neighbor whom you haven’t seen since the bbq last summer will barge in to surprise you with that sixer he ‘owes’ you just as soon as your boss is on Skype.
I was working at home while I was taking care of my elderly mom and she would be perfectly fine all day until I would get on a conference call and then she would promptly throw up! Seriously, if I had a dollar for every time … and moms working at home have the same issue with kids. It’s some cue they all have! Plan for it!
So how to sound professional amid the chaos that can be working at home?
One lifesaver is: a Noise Cancelling Headset with a Mute Button!
You may already be doing Skype and Webinars with your laptop speakers and a mic. A headset will greatly improve the sound quality so that callers can hear you more clearly. At the same time it cancels out a lot of background noise. Even if it is corded into the computer, the mic still moves with you as you move your head. The mic stays equal distant from your voice all the time so the sound is more even. If you are using the mic on the computer and you look away or turn your head the sound changes as you move. This gadget will go a long way to making you sound more professional.
Then there’s the mute button. This is to quickly turn off the crying, vomiting, barking, police sirens or pop-up neighbors!
There are a few things to consider when looking for a headset. What type and how much you will spend depends a lot on how you intend to use it. First consider these three scenarios:
- Some headsets have noise cancellation on the mic, not on the headphones. This is to improve the sound quality for the person on the other end of the call (your boss, client, podcast listener or webinar viewer).
- Other headsets have noise cancellation on the earpieces as well as the mic. This will improve sound quality for both of you.
- Some people work in very noisy environments and like to have music on while they work, or want quiet while they work. There are some headphones that are great for noise cancellation and for playing music with which you can also take calls. You can switch back and forth among uses.
Once you have decided what your main use of the headset will be, there are a several more things to consider!
- If you are on calls frequently or are on long calls, some headsets can begin to feel like a steel vice on your head and ears. Soft padded ear cups don’t make much difference for surrounding environment sounds but are very important for ease of wear. You don’t want pressure on your ears or a vice on your head. It is miserable!
- Most headsets are adjustable, but are they adjustable enough? If you have a large head or a really small head, will you be able to adjust the headset comfortably? Don’t settle. If it’s too tight, you will regret it in no time. If it is to loose and falls off every time you move, you will find it impossible to work with it.
- Some sets are one-eared and others are two. Preference would be influenced by how many hours you are wearing it. The one-eared version leaves your other ear free to hear everything in your environment. This is a deal-breaker for some folks. Some people need to hear everything going on around them.
- Unless they have noise cancellation technology, most of the headsets with dual ears are for ease of wear. They do not cancel out environmental sound for you. Having foam cups on both ears would cut down surrounding sound somewhat. If you want less noise but still want to be aware of what’s going on around you, this would be an option for you.
- Some devices will maintain a certain sound level on a call which is great for sudden sounds on your caller’s side that you couldn’t expect.
- Some sets are strictly for talking on the internet: phone, Skype, webinar, or for using a dictation program.
- Others would be OK for listening to a webinar or podcast or a movie but not would not have the sound quality for music or games.
- Others have great sound quality so are good for music but also for talking. If music is important to you while you work, a headset with ability to switch from phone to music would be the choice for you.
- Where is the volume control? Easily accessible? For those emergency Murphy’s Law situations, you don’t want to be fiddling with the computer!
- You definitely want a visual indicator of when you are on mute. Were you ever on a webinar where someone thought they were muted and were banging pots, yelling at the dog or having a complete conversation with someone else as everyone tried to get their attention?
- The main purpose of some sets is noise cancellation and not calls (although you can make calls on some.) If you work in a very noisy environment or travel a lot, these might be your choice. I recommend this article on ExplainthatStuff that will explain just how noise cancelling headphones works. It will give you a good understanding so that you can choose what would be best for you!
- Where some headsets are as as simple as plug in the USB and you are good to go, others take some set up. Be sure to check that out before you purchase.
- There are cordless options. Depending on your usage, battery power is a consideration.
As you can see, the noise cancelling headset has some options for your clients and for you! Here are a few options that you might find helpful in making your office more professional!
(Good music sound, so a good choice for toggling back and forth from voice to music)
(Good choice for calls only)
(We all know Bose. Nuf said! I only included one option here. There are many options, compatible with different phones etc. Click here to check out all the Bose options.
I hope this has been helpful to you in making your workplace a more peaceful and productive one!
Patt Timlin is a marketing expert set on sharing her expertise with other online marketers to help them achieve the dream of working online. She is secretly pleased with the surge in content marketing as revenge of the English majors! Entrepreneur, blogger, guide, helper – Patt loves the online world and loves to share it!
Patt is the author of: Patt Blogs
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