5 Hybrid Office Essentials That You’ll Love to Hate
The new tech products hitting the market in the past two years were nearly all conceived pre-pandemic and designed for in-office workers. It showed: lots of gorgeous screens and weighty smart furniture that would happily live out their years in cubicles or corner offices—spaces that were at the time largely uninhabited.
This season that’s changing: tech and office-supply designers are flooding the market with products incubated during lockdowns. They have a new consumer in mind: the hybrid worker transitioning from home office to work office to airport lounge to home again. As firms try to lure employees back into the office, seamless transitions from one office to another are essential, and companies are taking note. Here are five portable gadgets to know about:
What it is: A portable see-through contraption that holds your camera mid-screen, so that you can look attendees in the eye.
Who it’s for: Frequent video conferencers who want to solve the lack-of-eye-contact problem.
Love it because: Pretending to stare into a camera gets old.
Hate it because: A plexiglass gadget that hooks over a monitor doesn’t seem like a long-term, scalable solution. Can’t computer companies place cameras mid-screen?
What it is: A palm-sized light that mounts onto your screen top, with a range of soft light (read: flattering) options. It’s just big enough to light your lovely face and just small enough to slide into a bag pocket.
Who it’s for: People who don’t want their Zoom calls to look like hostage videos.
Love it because: Ring lights are awkward and not actually necessary.
Hate it because: Your office will forever feel like a CNN live-interview set.
What it is: A digital notebook that holds all of your legal pads, planners, and notebooks in one thin tablet.
Who it’s for: People who don’t want to lug paperwork back and forth to the office.
Love it because: You always have the right notebook on hand, whether at a board meeting or in therapy.
Hate it because: It’s a one-trick pony, but one you’ll use dozens of times a day. Paper enthusiasts rejoice.
What it is: Software that lets you use your iPad as a second monitor for your laptop.
Who it’s for: People working remotely or traveling who miss using multiple screens.
Love it because: If you already own Apple gear, you don’t need to buy anything else! Hurrah.
Hate it because: In practice, when working at a table or on a couch, the two screens are hard to arrange in a parallel configuration.
What it is: A portable hotkey pad with 22 videoconferencing keys for common functions like chat, mute, raise hand, mute all, and record.
Who it’s for: Power video conferencers.
Love it because: One word: smooth. Rather than clicking into a settings menu, you can do all maneuvers with one key stroke.
Hate it because: Its existence means that Zooming is now a lifestyle, and you’re in it.