Press a squishy ball during a long phone conversation or shoot a nerf dart blaster if a parcel that arrived yesterday does not show up today? You're not alone. Many adults find table toys a welcome addition to their workspace.
While your office does not have to resemble a five-year-old's playroom, one or two carefully selected desk toys can come in handy. Here's a look at some things people have nearby and the purposes they serve:
These devices are just as popular in the office as in the schoolyard, from relieving tension to nervous hands that have something quieter to do than tapping a pen.
"I am a business owner who has a fidgety spinner at my desk," says Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation.com. "I even ordered a whole box for my team and about a year ago, when the toys had peaked, they all gave a box for personal use. When I feel creatively stuck, I turn it over for a few moments. It's a lot of fun and helps me to solve it all the time! "
Another common multipurpose toy is the Euler disc. Nick Galov of Hostingtribunal.com recommends combining "stress reduction, socialization and aesthetics in one".
"It's a great visual complement to any desk, because it's a multicolored ball that spins like a spike over a mirror," he says. "The hypnotic movements, combined with the sounds of the ball, are great for relaxing your mind on a stressful day. The longer the sound turns, the louder it becomes. This can either annoy your employees or invite them to a contest to find out who can spin it the longest! "
Whether you spend a few moments figuring out how to put a jack-puzzle back together, or inviting a passerby to throw a few hoops into a mini basketball net, games offer the opportunity to recharge.
Steve Adams of The Cyphers Agency, an integrated marketing company, notes the importance of having a Cornhole game in the company's creative lounge.
"It's designed to give authors, designers, and web developers a break from any creative blockage (even if we only play alone)," he says. "It also brings together employees from different departments through spontaneous games. It even triggers a project brainstorming session in which two, four or six employees set up a white board next to the game and discard their ideas while literally throwing bean sacks. "
In particular, for people who bring visitors to their office for meetings, interviews and the like, a toy on the desk can lighten the mood.
William Taylor, Development Manager at MintResume, shows a set of erasers and sharpeners called Ramen Doodles. As the name implies, it looks like a bowl of the famous noodles.
"It's definitely a conversation starter, because people often go to my desk just to ask if it's edible," he says.
As well as showing employees photos to improve mood and remember things outside the office, desktop toys can serve the same purpose. A Matchbox version of a dream car can inspire hard work to one day get the original, or a Smurf figure can make you smile because it reminds you of your childhood.
Samantha Lambert, Human Resources Manager at Blue Fountain Media, shows a Green Army man standing on a USMC roller coaster.
"My best friend is a Marine, and this little green Army man protects me from my own stress and dark thoughts," she says. "When I have a frustrating, stressful or sincere bad day
, , , I look at this figure and think of my friend along with all of our other past, present and future service members. It reminds me that my day is not so bad after all. "