Here are eight purchases that you can totally justify as workday-enhancing — if not directly work-related.
By Carrie Kirby
Carrie Kirby helps ordinary families save money without extreme couponing on her blog, Frugalistic Mom. Before becoming a stay-at-home mom, Carrie worked for six years as a business and technology reporter at The San Francisco Chronicle.
If you didn’t love technology, you probably wouldn’t have gone into IT. But how to separate the gadgets that can truly help you with your job from those that would just be really, really cool to own? Here are eight purchases that you can totally justify as workday-enhancing — if not directly work-related.
- A Smartwatch
Aaron Gross, Milwaukee IT pro with marketing firm Bader Rutter, never goes to work without his Pebble Smartwatch. He likes being able to check his notifications without pulling out his phone. It also helps him stay on schedule at work. “Even if my phone’s in my office and I'm in the server room, my wrist goes off and I make my meeting,” Gross said. Of course, there are other smart watches on the market (you may have heard of a certain Apple product). If your company issued you an iPhone, you might appreciate the way the Apple Watch works as “a symbiotic iPhone companion,” as CNET put it. But Gross said that at $99, his Pebble has been going strong for a year and he’s still pleased with it.
- A Great Pair of Headphones
Work in a noisy environment? Find yourself away from your desk too often to be tethered by a headphone cable? Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 Wireless headphones are equipped with noise canceling, and pair with your phone or iPod via bluetooth. Digital Trends likes it for its “near-flawless wireless performance” with an “impressive battery life,” perfect for powering you through long workdays.
- A Customized Desk
As an IT pro, your workstation is like your home. Or at least you may spend just as much time there. Would you put a standard-issue couch in your living room? Then why use the company-issued keyboard? If you use your handheld devices so much that you’re more comfortable with screen typing than push-button typing, it’s time to try the Bastron glass keyboard, a smooth piece of glass with keys displayed in blue or pink lighting. More old school? The $309 Qwerkywriter USB keyboard looks and feels like a real typewriter and is available for pre-order after a successful Kickstarter campaign.
- A Portable Mobile Charger
The best gadgets on earth are nothing but diving weights if you’re on the road and can’t charge them. Need to power up your phone while you bike to work? Make your laptop last through a flight? Bring a mobile-first charger. Digital Trends lists the 25 best external batteries, which range in price from $15 to $100 depending on weight, capacity and looks. Does your team expect you to respond on weekends and vacations, even if you’re camping? Better pack a solar charger like the RAVPower 15W Dual-Port Solar Charger — recommended by Engadget — which you can use to charge a device or external battery pack.
- A High-Tech Coffee Maker
You could always get a coffee maker for your cube with a timer on it so your first pot is fresh and waiting when you walk into the office. But what if you get to work at different times? Wouldn’t it be great if you could schedule your brew from your phone on your way to work? Or from the middle of a particularly tiring meeting? The new Smarter Wi-Fi Coffee Machine promises just that, allowing you to dictate the number of cups and the strength of the brew you want waiting for you.
- A Hybrid Laptop
IT project consultant Brad T. likes to use a laptop that can convert to a tablet, like the Surface Pro 3, for field work, because it enables him to complete documentation as he walks through company facilities. "I could do it more fluidly because I didn't have to find a place to either sit or a work surface before I did my paperwork,” he said.
- A Fitness Tracker
If you spend long hours in front of your computer, it’s easy to forget to get up and move around. A high-tech way to remind yourself is by wearing a fitness tracker. The Wirecutter just spent 10 days testing trackers and deemed the Fitbit Charge HR the best of the pack. Wearing one of these, you can track not just your workouts but floors climbed and server rooms traversed. You can even use the alarm feature to remind yourself to get up and move after a certain amount of time at your computer.
- An Unlosable Umbrella
If you tend to move from one facility to another during the workday, you may find yourself leaving important items at far-flung work sites. And no one wants all the gear you carry from the office to the parking lot to get soaked. Enter the Blunt + Tile, a rugged umbrella that comes equipped with a Tile tracker, which you can locate using your smartphone. It’s the first smart umbrella that will “make sure you’re never caught unprepared again,” explains gizmag.
This article was originally published on Wisebread.