Desk gadgets, office gizmos, workplace gubbins…
Whatever you care to call them, their purpose is to make our working life easier.
We’ve found 10 of the cleverest desk gadgets out there. Smart, innovative tools that can save you time and effort. Although many of them are so downright fun, you might end up wasting more time playing around with them!
#1 Staple-free stapler
Q. When is a stapler not a stapler?
A. When it doesn’t use any staples….
Not much of a punchline, but funnier than hunting around for staples before a deadline. It’s also not much fun removing staples either, especially if you need to shred documents.
Possibly Japanese in origin, these cool little office gadgets can save you time and hassle. You can buy them for just a few dollars and you’ll save money on staples, so it might pay for itself eventually. Plus, you’ll be doing your little bit to reduce waste.
There are two notable types. There is one that will punch a hole and fold the paper, cleverly binding them together. Or if you prefer your documents without holes, look out for ones that crimp the paper together. You can easily ‘uncrimp’ the documents and smooth them back into shape.
There is a catch though; most won’t clip more than 5-8 documents together. For that you’ll need a normal stapler. Which is a lot less fun…
Reclaiming Desk Space
#2 Portable Scanner
Another easy way to reduce staple rage is to get rid of documents altogether.
The paperless office may remain an elusive dream for you. But having the option to quickly scan and store paperwork is a step in the right direction.
Of course, a space-hogging scanner may not be ideal for you, especially if you work from home or the local coffee shop. But you might have room for a portable scanner.
Handily, these desk gadgets come with rechargeable batteries and wi-fi connections, so you can take them where the documents are. This makes them ideal for scanning client documents on the go.
If you have the right software, you can also convert documents into searchable documents. This makes them useful for converting your handwritten documents into electronic notes.
Reclaiming Desk Space
#3 Wind-up Shredder
Safely disposing of sensitive documents usually requires a power hungry, space-hogging shredder.
But you can save space (and your ears) with a wind-up shredder. This is one of those really simple but smart desk gadgets that are fun and practical. Not to mention a greener, as they don’t need anything more than a bit elbow grease to use.
Sure, if you need to rapidly shred boxes of incriminating documents before the authorities arrive, then this desk gadget is not for you. But what it lacks in speed (and efficiency) it makes up for with discretion and convenience. This makes it ideal if you work from home and only need to shred the occasional document.
If that’s not enough, some people report that shredding documents manually can be calming. Perfect if you work with customer complaints…
#4 ‘Smart’ Desk Organizer
When you think of desk organizers, colorful plastic tubes of varying heights probably spring to mind. Perhaps fond childhood memories of gluing brightly decorated toilet roll inserts together.
But desk organizers have moved with the times. These days, they come bristling with USB ports to help you stay connected at work. Even better, they’ll help you get rid of messy cables and the occasional frustrating hunt for a phone buried under paperwork.
Coming in a multitude of styles, they’ll also help you add some personality to your desk, which studies show can make your working day better.
Reclaiming Desk Space
#5 Reusable Notebooks
Does your job require lots of notetaking? Are you tired of typing those notes up, over and over again? Then a ‘Smart notebook’ might be for you.
These innovative office gadgets are a fusion of old-school methods and super-modern tech. You still write your notes the old-fashioned way. But thanks to cloud technology you can save them instantly for later reading.
Best of all, you can save them where they are easily accessed, such as Google Docs, iCloud etc. And providing your handwriting is easy to read, you can also send your notes anyone who needs them. This makes them ideal if you work on the road.
If you’re wondering, you will usually need a ‘special’ pen. But you should save money on notebooks in the long run.
Even better, you can find ones that must be nuked in a microwave to wipe the page clean for re-use. A very satisfying way to ending your working day…
#6 Air Bar
In our hyper-connected world, we are overwhelmed with different ways to stay connected. Tablets are becoming increasingly popular amongst office workers, especially if they come with keyboards.
But unless you spend real money, these are usually tablets with detachable keyboards. These can often be underpowered compared to laptops. And you might find your options limited if you want to work with Windows or Microsoft Office.
That’s where an air-bar comes in. These clever plug ‘n’ play devices can be attached to your notebook or PC monitor and instantly transform the screen into a touch screen, giving you the nest of both worlds
Apparently making use of some sort of magic force field, it detects all the usual touch screen actions (move, pinch, drop etc.). These devices work well with the touch-screen friendly Windows 10. Plus, you can use tools like a paintbrush, for more creative working.
Cheaper than buying a tablet, these are ideal if you need the oomph of a laptop, but could do with touch-screen functionality from time to time.
Reclaiming Desk Space
#7 Monitor Riser
Less desk gadget, more just a sensible way to organize your desk and improve your health at work.
Monitor stands and adjustable ‘risers’ are great for setting your screen to the recommended height. If your screen is too high or too low, you are probably straining your eyesight and posture.
As an added bonus, raising your monitor will give you more valuable desktop real-estate to play with. With added features such as drawers, USB ports and stationery storage, you might even find your desk better organized.
Of course, if you work on a laptop you will need a separate keyboard. Although you should check out our next entry for a more creative solution. Whatever you work on though, raising your monitor to the correct height is highly recommended.
A Healthier Workspace
Reclaiming Desk Space
#8 Virtual Keyboard and Mouse
One day, a keyboard will be as obsolete as a VHS player. I think…
But for most office workers, keyboards and monitors are still a thing. That’s why there is a need for virtual keyboards. These are ideal for saving space and useful for roaming workers.
A virtual keyboard and mouse looks as futuristic as you would expect. But they work. What’s more, they are ideal if you use a laptop and want the health benefits of raising your monitor.
Although you should be aware, your brain might need to get used to it. As cool as it looks, the absence of anything solid to touch can just feel weird. With no clicks or satisfying contact with buttons and mouse wheels, it is a slightly surreal experience.
But once you get past that, you can sit back and amaze your colleagues with a desktop straight out of Star Trek.
#9 Silent/Quiet Fan
During the summer, office air-con is one part of going to the work you might be thankful for. But if your desk is in a hotspot, or air-con is a luxury you can only dream of, then a fan might be your best friend on hot days.
But fans can be noisily distracting. Great for drowning out background noise, but far from ideal when you need to get your head down and work.
Silent (well, quiet) fans are rarely the cheapest option. But they can make a world of difference to your comfort during the summer months.
Bladeless fans lead the way in quiet fan technology. That said, there are more affordable bladed fans that run quietly and will keep you cool.
You should look out for fans in the 40-50 decibels range. This is close to the soothing sound of birdcall or the hushed environs of a library. Practically the very definition of quietness!
A Happier Workspace
#10 Multi-device Keyboard
The modern office worker often has more than one screen to worry about. Mobile phones, monitors and tablets fight are all fighting for our attention.
A multi-device keyboard, is a desk gadget that brings all those devices together in one command and control centre. This means you can operate them all from 1 keyboard, while keeping them charged at the same time.
Now, having 3 screens fighting for your attention at once may not be good for your stress levels. But if your job demands it, this might be just what you need to stay on top of everything. Just try to avoid using them all once, kids.