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Published on October 3, 2017

10 Workplace Gadgets That Will Make You Work Happily and Productively

10 Workplace Gadgets That Will Make You Work Happily and Productively

A good portion of your life is spent at work, it’s between 50-60% of your waking time. Shouldn’t the goal be both comfort and productivity, then? Much of the discussion around employee engagement, morale, and productivity tend to be about office perks (free food, ping pong, etc.) or managerial improvements in terms of communication. A workplace survey conducted by a design company Gensler showed a great correlation between the interaction of physical space and employee productivity.[1]

This is valuable for companies and individual employees to listen to. You may never get free tacos, ping pong tables, or an amazingly empathetic boss, but this list of workplace gadgets handpicked by the Lifehack team can make you love work more and boost your productivity.

1. Sitts Posture Back Support Wedge Cushion

    This back support cushion helps reduce tailbone pressure, which makes your head and shoulders feel lighter and favors healthy weight distribution and posture. This is great for people developing lower back issues because of their posture throughout a work day. You’ll also gradually build balance and core strength.

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    Sitts Posture Back Support Wedge Cushion, $50.98

    2. Pleson Wireless Charger

      No more cords! This is extremely thin (0.25 inches), generates 50% less heat, and the LED indicator will turn off when you’re charging successfully (no added distraction). It has universal compatibility with iPhone and Android. It’s also the most human-designed of the wireless chargers because it takes into account how you like to sleep.

      Check the Pleson Wireless Charger at Amazon

      3. NanoPad Nano Suction Smartphone Pad

        With this, you can attach your phone to any smooth surface without a problem. The NanoPad itself is a thin pad that sticks to smartphones or their covers. Physical and chemical reactions make it possible to attach your phone to a white board as a meeting is being run. You could also attach it to a conference room wall, leave a food app open, and have everyone put in their order before it’s placed.

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        Back the NanoPad on Kickstarter

        4. Sony Digital Paper e-Ink Tablet

          Say goodbye to scroll and zoom. Documents can be in full-letter size and you can use the stylus to write fluidly and directly on the panel, quickly highlight text, and erase notes. Because the surface actually rejects your palm, functionality is never disrupted — which is a problem on some regular tablets.

          e-Ink tablet, starting from $799

          5. Homesky Inflatable Pillow

            Yes, sleeping at work is encouraged. A 20-minute work nap can super boost your productivity, read more about this in our other article here. The homesky Inflatable Pillow is a head travel pillow that provides great neck support and allows people to sleep facing forward for greater comfort.

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            homesky Inflatable Pillow, $11.99

            6. Stood Laptop Stand (made of wood)

              A great travel companion (and easy to move around), it works with all laptops under two centimeters thick. It’s also eco-friendly.

              Stood Laptop Stand, $29

              7. Artifox Magnetic Organizing PEGS

                Rare-earth magnets that still are strong enough whereby you could bookend/bracket an entire encyclopedia set. There are almost a myriad potential of combinations, so you can organize a good chunk of your office. They also come packaged in a solid wood container that can be turned into a pen/pencil cup.

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                Artifox Magnetic Organizing PEGS, $40

                8. Patu Aluminum Alloy Rotating Desk Extension Pad Armrest

                  The main goal here is to reduce stress on eyes, shoulders, wrists, and neck areas. This product was especially designed for computer-heavy professions such as IT, designers, cubicle-based employees, and more. You can extend the range of motion and comfort level at every sitting position through using this, which comes off as a bit of a precursor to the robot arms increasingly soon to be normative.

                  Patu Aluminum Alloy Rotating Desk Extension Pad Armrest, $29.99

                  9. JmGO P2 Portable 3D Projector

                    It’s actually shaped like a water bottle (very cool), meaning you can hold it in one hand. It can provide five hours of continuous video play in energy saving mode (also 10 hours Bluetooth music). It’s suitable for work presentations, with a 1280 x 720 resolution and projection best up to 100 inches. It’s a fully rechargeable cinema for that next work pitch.

                    JmGO P2 Portable 3D Projector, $769.99

                    10. Magnetdabbles Dual-Tip Magnetic Gel Pens

                    Magnetdabbles have some of the same appeal as fidget spinners. They’re fun, well-designed, and consistently easy to find. You can pin them right to the refrigerator. Magnetdabbles are the only pens where you can have one image/logo/phrase across more than one pen for a full image which will be the talking point for many conversations and bring your event, business or organization great publicity.

                    Magnetdabbles Dual-Tip Magnetic Gel Pen on Kickstarter

                    Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

                    Reference

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                    Brian Lee

                    Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

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                    The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

                    The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

                    It’s a depressing adage we’ve all heard time and time again: An increase in technology does not necessarily translate to an increase in productivity.

                    Put another way by Robert Solow, a Nobel laureate in economics,

                    “You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”

                    In other words, just because our computers are getting faster, that doesn’t mean that that we will have an equivalent leap in productivity. In fact, the opposite may be true!

                    New York Times writer Matt Richel wrote in an article for the paper back in 2008 that stated, “Statistical and anecdotal evidence mounts that the same technology tools that have led to improvements in productivity can be counterproductive if overused.”

                    There’s a strange paradox when it comes to productivity. Rather than an exponential curve, our productivity will eventually reach a plateau, even with advances in technology.

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                    So what does that mean for our personal levels of productivity? And what does this mean for our economy as a whole? Here’s what you should know about the productivity paradox, its causes, and what possible solutions we may have to combat it.

                    What is the productivity paradox?

                    There is a discrepancy between the investment in IT growth and the national level of productivity and productive output. The term “productivity paradox” became popularized after being used in the title of a 1993 paper by MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, a Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business.

                    In his paper, Brynjolfsson argued that while there doesn’t seem to be a direct, measurable correlation between improvements in IT and improvements in output, this might be more of a reflection on how productive output is measured and tracked.[1]

                    He wrote in his conclusion:

                    “Intangibles such as better responsiveness to customers and increased coordination with suppliers do not always increase the amount or even intrinsic quality of output, but they do help make sure it arrives at the right time, at the right place, with the right attributes for each customer.

                    Just as managers look beyond “productivity” for some of the benefits of IT, so must researchers be prepared to look beyond conventional productivity measurement techniques.”

                    How do we measure productivity anyway?

                    And this brings up a good point. How exactly is productivity measured?

                    In the case of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity gain is measured as the percentage change in gross domestic product per hour of labor.

                    But other publications such as US Today, argue that this is not the best way to track productivity, and instead use something called Total Factor Productivity (TFP). According to US Today, TFP “examines revenue per employee after subtracting productivity improvements that result from increases in capital assets, under the assumption that an investment in modern plants, equipment and technology automatically improves productivity.”[2]

                    In other words, this method weighs productivity changes by how much improvement there is since the last time productivity stats were gathered.

                    But if we can’t even agree on the best way to track productivity, then how can we know for certain if we’ve entered the productivity paradox?

                    Possible causes of the productivity paradox

                    Brynjolfsson argued that there are four probable causes for the paradox:

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                    • Mis-measurement – The gains are real but our current measures miss them.
                    • Redistribution – There are private gains, but they come at the expense of other firms and individuals, leaving little net gain.
                    • Time lags – The gains take a long time to show up.
                    • Mismanagement – There are no gains because of the unusual difficulties in managing IT or information itself.

                    There seems to be some evidence to support the mis-measurement theory as shown above. Another promising candidate is the time lag, which is supported by the work of Paul David, an economist at Oxford University.

                    According to an article in The Economist, his research has shown that productivity growth did not accelerate until 40 years after the introduction of electric power in the early 1880s.[3] This was partly because it took until 1920 for at least half of American industrial machinery to be powered by electricity.”

                    Therefore, he argues, we won’t see major leaps in productivity until both the US and major global powers have all reached at least a 50% penetration rate for computer use. The US only hit that mark a decade ago, and many other countries are far behind that level of growth.

                    The paradox and the recession

                    The productivity paradox has another effect on the recession economy. According to Neil Irwin,[4]

                    “Sky-high productivity has meant that business output has barely declined, making it less necessary to hire back laid-off workers…businesses are producing only 3 percent fewer goods and services than they were at the end of 2007, yet Americans are working nearly 10 percent fewer hours because of a mix of layoffs and cutbacks in the workweek.”

                    This means that more and more companies are trying to do less with more, and that means squeezing two or three people’s worth of work from a single employee in some cases.

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                    According to Irwin, “workers, frightened for their job security, squeezed more productivity out of every hour [in 2010].”

                    Looking forward

                    A recent article on Slate puts it all into perspective with one succinct observation:

                    “Perhaps the Internet is just not as revolutionary as we think it is. Sure, people might derive endless pleasure from it—its tendency to improve people’s quality of life is undeniable. And sure, it might have revolutionized how we find, buy, and sell goods and services. But that still does not necessarily mean it is as transformative of an economy as, say, railroads were.”

                    Still, Brynjolfsson argues that mismeasurement of productivity can really skew the results of people studying the paradox, perhaps more than any other factor.

                    “Because you and I stopped buying CDs, the music industry has shrunk, according to revenues and GDP. But we’re not listening to less music. There’s more music consumed than before.

                    On paper, the way GDP is calculated, the music industry is disappearing, but in reality it’s not disappearing. It is disappearing in revenue. It is not disappearing in terms of what you should care about, which is music.”

                    Perhaps the paradox isn’t a death sentence for our productivity after all. Only time (and perhaps improved measuring techniques) will tell.

                    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

                    Reference

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