Whether you are headed back to the office after three remote years, or haven’t thought twice about purchasing new productivity products and services for the offuce while braving rocky financial situations, it’s time.
Businesses have had an eye on improving products meant to help make life as a business owner much easier, whether you are overseeing thousands of employees or decorating your own cubicle. Small business owners especially might skimp on office products and services to save money—but what if those purchases themselves end up saving you money? And then there are those nice-to-haves that might give you a mood boost on a dreary work day.
Here’s what products and services to look into at your next budget meeting to give your space and processes a pick-me-up.
If you or your employees don’t have an Apple Watch yet… it’s time.
It might seem basic, but there’s a reason Apple set a new U.S. record in 2022, reporting they’ve sold Apple watches to 30% of iPhone users—an unprecedented success rate. For business owners, and potentially employees, it might just be a must-have.
Kyle Duford, president of The Brand Leader in Greenville, South Carolina, agrees. “While I wish it was something more analog, and therefore maybe a bit more eccentric and ‘creative,’ I have to say my go-to for everything is my Apple Watch. It’s strapped to me for everything. It tracks my sleep at night—eight hours, every night—my calories, my daily run and my heart rate,” he says. “But maybe more importantly during my work day, it keeps track of my mental health, important meetings and, maybe most importantly, [silences] text messages from my wife during meetings.”
He calls the watch his ecosystem, since it connects to his phone, home, computer and more. He wouldn’t choose another type because “it’s like driving a BMW and using a Mercedes key… just doesn’t work.”
Business owners might enjoy alerts related to order updates, assigning and accepting urgent tasks and talking on the fly without having to look for your phone, such as during hectic travel.
Go green and get a little oxygen boost
In a 2014 study from the Journal of Experimental Psychology that examined “lean offices,” meaning they were pretty boring and bare, researchers noted a 15% increase in productivity when they added some leafy greens. Choosing a few office plants can boost your mood, improve air quality and freshen up your space. Picking a desk lamp and plant that you love can make your own desk more comfortable as well.
The Arbor Day Foundation offers multiple types of low-maintenance, office-friendly plants that can be delivered ready to go, with specific directions included, to your office door. They suggest the ponytail palm, for example, an easily maintained houseplant that gives you beachy vibes all year. “When placed in an area with bright, indirect sunlight, the ponytail palm would also make an excellent patio plant, as long as it’s brought indoors for the colder fall and winter months,” the organization explains.
If you are superstitious, go for the money tree instead, which also makes a fun boss or employee gift around the holidays. “The money tree is associated with financial prosperity, making a great gift to new homeowners or as a good luck charm for businesses,” a representative from Arbor Day Foundation says.
Or, try a fiddle leaf fig. “Fiddle leaf fig plants are highly efficient at purifying the air. Their large, flat leaves filter toxins, which makes your office air healthier to breathe,” says Kasey Hurd, Arbor Day Foundation e-commerce manager. “Plus, its stunning silhouette makes it the perfect statement piece. If properly cared for, this plant can grow up to 10-plus feet tall, which provides a bold and elegant presence to your office. And for every order placed through the Arbor Day Foundation Tree Nursery, you’ll support our critical efforts to green our world.”
Get some tech support—especially if you don’t have a tech team
If you could have a tech wizard show up, especially at your home office, to give your small business a once-over with some helpful new recommendations, things might run a bit smoother in your digital life.
Verizon Business Checks does just that for free, year-round. It offers business owners a comprehensive analysis of their current technology solutions to determine if they meet their business needs. As part of the Tech Check, business owners collaborate with Verizon Business experts to develop a customized approach that aligns with their specific tech requirements, covering aspects such as communications, connectivity and security.
Aparna Khurjekar, chief revenue officer of Verizon Business Markets and SaaS, states, “Our Tech Checks empower small businesses with insights into technologies and solutions to drive their business growth. Our team at Verizon Business assists customers daily in navigating technology essentials, including connectivity and cybersecurity.” During some promotional periods during the year, they also offer a free phone with the service alongside their no-charge Tech Check offer.
The planner’s comeback
There are many digital planners, platforms and services available for online tax organization. But for some, keeping track with an old-school pen and paper might be easier, especially if a tax planner is sitting on your desk year round, right in your face.
Wealth coach Dr. ShaTonya “Rosie” Thomas recommends the Thomas Tax Academy Tax Pro Planner, especially if you are newer to the world of tax deductions. It has pages and calendar months to log events and expenses. It lists potential deduction categories you might not have thought of, or that you might not think to ask your accountant about. In a world of online tools, sometimes it’s best to go basic.
Speaking of planners, they are having a serious comeback this year. If your taxes are all set, but you love the idea of a planner/journal/workbook combination and find yourself often mixing spiritual or personal concepts with business planning, the Maniscripting Journal could be for you instead. This workbook is a series of lessons, prompts and journaling that leads you to a better vision for what you want for yourself and your business. A bit self-help, and a bit business planning—because for some they are inseparable.
A virtual calendar is the productivity product that keeps everyone on track
Whether you are a remote solopreneur or one of many teammates in a large in-person company, a virtual digital display board that shares calendars in live time is a must. Skylight, for example, doubles as a family planning calendar if you are working at home and juggling family life. It can show chore charts, meal planning and all the lists a working parent needs alongside a calendar synced with a variety of virtual calendar options.
For a larger wall display that can also show photos, weather and more, check out the DAKboard wall display. Not only will you have more people on time for your next meeting, but you can build comradery through displaying photos from the last company event, or sharing announcements about an upcoming happy hour.
Photo by Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com