We’ve all seen Office Space — cubicles can be awfully dreary, Here are the Techie office cubicle gadgets
With three walls and a monotone fabric cover, these structures can suck the creativity/productivity/soul out of any worker. Yet somehow, spending the day in a 6 feet x 6 feet box has become the workplace norm in most countries. These dismal workplace crates can be almost impossible to avoid.
As the holidays near, we’ve launched an investigation into the best techie gifts to outfit your cubicle and the cubes of those around you. From a simple fix with a big impact (like a monitor arm) to an expensive splurge (like an ergonomic office chair), these workplace presents can help keep your loved ones sane and comfortable from 9-5, and they’re perfect gifts for the holidays.
1. A monitor arm
You can’t overestimate the importance of a correctly positioned computer monitor — placing your screen in the wrong spot can cause eye strain, neck pain and poor posture. Experts agree that the best place for a monitor is directly in front of you, at eye level. Imagine drawing a line about two inches from the top of your screen, and then make that even with your eyes. Never place a screen off-center, or it will place stress on neck muscles by causing you to look left and right. And, only tilt your screen down if you need to cut glare from overhead lights. Essentially, you want to keep your body as loose as possible using the minimum amount of effort to view your screen.
Try gifting a high-tech monitor arm, like one from Ergotron. It’ll lend more flexibility than a lift or a stand, and can be easily adjusted for any position. Monitor arms also make it easy to move a screen out of the way when you need to work on old fashioned paper projects.
2. USB coffee warmers
No matter how hot Starbucks makes their coffee, even it can cool within minutes of reaching the office — especially in blustery winter weather. A trek to the kitchen can interrupt work and decrease productivity, so consider gifting a USB coffee warmer. This simple device, which easily plugs into your computer, can keep a mug hot without a trip to the microwave. And for less than $10, it makes a great casual gift for coworkers or friends.
Check out this one from Mr. Coffee.
3. A high-tech office chair
Lumbar support. It’s one of those phrases you never hear before college graduation, but it can carry a great deal of significance over the course of a career. The right chair can make for an excellent gift — especially if the recipient’s employer is hesitant to splurge.
Take the new Gesture chair from Steelcase, which can be yours for $1,000. Designed to account for people who shift through multiple devices (desktops, laptops, smartphones, tablets) throughout the workday, this high-design chair moves fluidly between the best positions for every screen. It can also grow or shrink depending on your loved one’s size, and arm rests change and swivel for easy movement.
4. Speech-to-text software
Whether you’re writing articles, memos or emails, typing is a large part of most modern jobs. But what if your technology could do it for you? Being hands-free can enable you to put up your feet, kick back and get comfortable — perhaps even in a new ergonomic chair. Letting the tech do the typing can give your favorite worker’s eyes and body a much needed break. Some technologies will even let the user control a computer and go through files sans mouse.
Most smartphones come with speech-to-text technology already installed, but Dragon Dictate can be a worthwhile gift. It works on both phones and computers, and allows users to dictate and edit documents without lifting a finger.
5. Solar-powered chargers
When shopping for someone environmentally conscious, consider a solar-powered charger. These nifty products can charge cellphones, laptops, digital cameras and more without ever plugging into a wall. Just make sure you know what devices your recipient will need to charge, and find one with the right output voltage. Brooklyn-based Voltaic Systems makes a large range of solar-powered products.
This makes a great gift for both loved ones and the environment. Just be sure their cubicle gets sunlight first!