Audio Management and Quality in a Virtual Organization

Getting on a meeting or phone call and having a conversation … such a simple thing, right? Well, even the simplest things can have a pretty big impact. What if all of your workers are remote… working from home with the regular interferences that come along with that? Barking dogs, screaming kids, vacuuming, etc. Now the issues become even more prevalent. What about using a headset with your computer, hopping on a Lync or Fuze meeting, and not knowing which one of your microphones is set as your default audio device? Just another set of challenges for, what seems to be, such a simple topic.

Audio quality in virtual work environment

Have you ever gotten on a big conference call and had someone slamming away at the keyboard in the background while not muted? That can cause all sorts of challenges on a phone call, especially if you don’t know who it is. Some people using their default laptop mic and speakers may not be aware of the amount of ambient noise coming through on their phone calls. Aside from simply causing a plethora of annoyances on meetings, it is extremely important for how our clients perceive us – especially as a tech company.

Audio Testing

At MCFTech, we have instituted a mandatory audio test. One of our IT representatives meets with each employee, both current and new hires to test them on a myriad of audio topics. The first thing we find out is if they are using a headset; if not, they probably need one. Regardless, we ensure the user can master the differences on their Windows PC between a Default Communication Device and a Default Device – as well as toggle efficiently within each of our meeting services (Lync, Fuze, etc. – more on that here). We then go through a series of exercises, testing the noise cancellation capabilities of their audio setup. What if the employee’s office is right by their kitchen? Can regular household activities be heard? How about opening and closing drawers, clicking a mouse and, of course, typing? If the employee has a wireless headset, how far is their range? This serves two purposes:

  1. Helps us identify individuals who need better audio hardware or support
  2. Helps users be aware of their limitations, which is equally as important

Audio quality is a critical component of any workplace that continues to rely more and more on virtual meeting services. We have already seen a drastic increase in awareness and attentiveness to audio quality and management within the organization as a result of testing and attention to audio experience.