Want to win at holiday gift-giving this year? We surveyed WFH gadget aficionados among BlueJeans employees to pull together a list of the most thoughtful gifts for the WFH Pro in your life.
1. A dedicated video conferencing device: We are all fatigued with too many online meetings all day. Why not make it a little easier on yourself or your loved one and get a dedicated, affordable, all-in-one video conferencing device like Portal from Facebook?
"Joining a BlueJeans meeting on Portal helps me focus on the conversation rather than get distracted and multitask on my computer. The audio is amazing, and the smart camera functionality on the Portal enhances the BlueJeans meeting experience and makes it more natural," says Tedd Fox, Director of Product Management at BlueJeans. Additionally, the Portal's advanced capabilities (like AR effects for Story Time) make it a great device to connect virtually with family members across multiple generations.
2. A pair of noise cancelling headsets: One of the most significant challenges of working from home is not being able to focus on meetings when you're sharing the space with your family or housemates. If you are using BlueJeans Meetings, the advanced Dolby Voice Audio eliminates background noise for the participants in your meeting so they are not distracted when you are speaking. However, you can probably still hear your dog barking or your teenager taking on the next Tik Tok dance challenge while you're trying to report on quarterly performance to your CEO. Not fun.
"A great pair of noise-canceling headsets can help you focus on the discussion even in the craziest home office environment. It is great to have 'a sanctuary' even when there is no physical space for it," says Andrew Brindamour, Software Architect at BlueJeans and WFH Pro, who shares a home office with others. Best of all, headphones make an excellent gift for the musically-inclined family member or housemate in your life if you would prefer they don't blast BTS loudly all hours of the day, as fun as that sounds. Our favorites are Sennheiser HD 4.50 Bluetooth Wireless Headphones, Poly Backbeat Pro and Bose QC35.
3. A decent office chair: After many, many months of working from home during the longest year in recent memory, lousy back support just doesn't cut it. A good work chair can be a splurge, but when you spend so many hours sitting at the same spot, the investment in better ergonomics will pay itself off many times over. We love the best-of-breed Herman Miller Aeron (which is expensive but will last forever), but there are great options at half the price, like the SIDIZ T50.
4. A great webcam: It's 2020, but laptops still have awful webcams. For the near and dear ones who need to look their best for video calls, give them the gift of a webcam that comes with autofocus, light correction, and full HD video that most built-in cameras lack. "For Marketing professionals," says Justin McHeffey, Senior Product Manager for BlueJeans Events, "a high-quality webcam is a necessary accessory to create compelling videos and while presenting during live webinars to engage with your audience." And who knows, maybe a good webcam can help your giftee finally achieve their dreams of becoming a video game streaming star.
6. A desk lamp: Whether it's for you or a friend, great lighting is essential for video conferencing. Not everyone has bright sunlight streaming into their office space all day. Lighting from a ceiling or floor lamp can be unflattering on video. The simplest way to get great lighting is setting up a table lamp to cast a warm light on your face. My personal favorite is the wildly popular TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp. You can also channel your inner influencer and get a Selfie Ring Light that easily attaches to your monitor or sits on your desk on a tripod.
5. A little bit of comfort: The suggestions so far encourage high productivity and help create the best home-office setup. But there was consensus among everyone I spoke to that some of the best gifts for WFH Pros this year are those which help us relax and unwind. This year has been stressful for everyone in some form, so get your loved ones an opportunity to practice mindfulness with a meditation app subscription such as Headspace or Calm. You can also send them comfort in the form of a monthly snack box or coffee subscription (we all miss our office snacks and free coffee, after all). Another option is gifting a paper journal or planner so your loved ones can jot down their ideas, plan their week, and note their thoughts without always being tethered to a digital screen.
Regardless of what you decide to give or what you receive, with everything going on this holiday season, it's more important than ever to connect with each other even if we are physically apart. We hope you find some time to check in with your family, co-workers and friends and create some fun 'new' traditions (virtual ugly-sweater holiday party, anyone?) to celebrate the end of this year. Happy Holidays!