Council staff have found it’s good to talk – using a telephone headset.

Kirklees Council has ditched out-of-date handsets replacing them with individual headsets which can be used in the office or at home.

The council has linked up with Leeds-based communications specialist Rocom in a £1 million project to embrace new technology – and save money.

Council bosses have cut back on traditional landlines instead connecting staff on a software-based system linked to their computer.

The council is set to make savings on call and line rental charges with the majority of desk-based telephones replaced by headsets.

As well as cutting costs the headsets improve people’s posture and can be connected to laptops for home workers or those on the move.

The council has introduced the Microsoft Lync ‘voice unified communications platform’ across more than 200 buildings.

It makes conference calls much easier and there is an individual ‘presence status’ to indicate if staff are available to talk.

Some of the council’s 7,000 staff were reluctant to adapt at first but are now happy with the new system.

The council’s principal officer Mr John Clayton said: “Mobility, cost and posture were the three key reasons to implement this project.

Kirklees Council's principal officer John Clayton.
 

“We have a lot of home workers and people using hot desks so we felt a personal headset was the way forward.

“It was quite a shift at first and there was a bit of resistance but after a few weeks people were quickly won over, with staff seeing the benefits of better posture, the ability to use their computer during calls and improved call clarity.

“Anyone that’s desk-based gets a headset from directors downwards. Laptops or desktops are connected. So far we’ve done over 3,500 and I would say 99.9% of users are happy.”

Mr Clayton said all council buildings were being converted and the new system made the traditional one seem “archaic.”

He added: “Now we can share documents and work together. We also conduct a lot of work with external agencies so we can collaborate.

“It also means that if we’re having a meeting we don’t all have to be in the same location so it encourages home working and saves time and travel costs.”

Mr Clayton described the installation of the project as “monumental” and potentially challenging but it had proved ground breaking.

There has been much interest from other councils.

A Sennheiser SC 30 USB ML headset like those bought by Kirklees Council to revolutionise the telephone system.