Top Ten Fun Office Gadgets and Cubicle Accessories to Distract Employees

Not that we are out to get our fellow employees in trouble, but sometimes in an office setting, there is a chance to kill time or get a laugh. I have listed some of the products that I have enjoyed in an office setting, and some I wish I could.

Short Term Office Distractions

There are a handful of items that can be useful in stress reduction (by way of causing laughter) or just plain out distraction (by getting you to stop and stare). Here are some items I would put in this category, that I made up.

1) 3D Magic Eye Posters and Calendars

Some people can't help themselves, and if they see one of these, they feel the need to come up to it and try to figure it out. There are some people that have eyes where they can't get the images from each eye to line up and find the "hidden" image, but they will give it another try, thinking this is the picture where it will work for them. There are those that learned they can't see these things, never will, and walk on by.

Other people can easily see these images, or need a couple extra seconds, and they have no problem making it out. If they see one of these Magic Eye illusions hanging up on the wall, they will feel the need to come up to it, stare, and start moving around to get into position to find the hidden image.

If you happen to have a yearly calendar of these images, they will probably make sure to come by every month and give a look to the new image. Some might even pull the calendar down off the wall and look through all of them. Either way, a lot of people will look at these illusions and start some kind of conversation, even if it is intended to be short.

Best viewed on paper, but can still be seen on screen.  Just try to turn the top two red squares into three, and let your eyes magically find the planet.
Best viewed on paper, but can still be seen on screen. Just try to turn the top two red squares into three, and let your eyes magically find the planet. | Source

The next two items are really for a quick chuckle. One of these is really more about a wish that you could perform with a needed task or agenda item, and the other better only be used amongst the closest of friends at the workplace, or at a workplace where everybody loves to have fun.

2) Decision Maker

For the decision maker, it can be a quick joke amongst employees. With options like "Pass the Buck," "Sit On It," and "Reorganize," you might have some meeting where you and a fellow employee swing by your office, and should you tell a joke about the bosses, one of you could spin the decision maker. All the while, you could say out loud, "Please hit reorganize. Please hit reorganize."

This little item could lead to quick jokes amongst two or three coworkers. Other people that pass by your office may notice it, as it is a paperweight and will probably be on your desk, and will likely ask what it is. They may then bring up something they are working on and ask if they can spin it.

3) WTF?! Stamp

This is an item that could lead to trouble, so you may be better off not to get it at all. I will start off assuming we all know what the abbreviation stands for, and if you don't know, Google it. If you have one of those situations where it could be called for, it would be hilarious. An interoffice memo that says something that the employees don't agree with could get the stamp, and you lay it on the desk of a close friend. They will laugh, and then need to destroy it so it is never found.

In a setting where there is a whole lot of joking amongst all employees, this is a much better opportunity. If the workplace has one boss, and everyone's status is below the boss, then putting this stamp on someone's work other than the boss could lead to huge laughs amongst everyone, as long as it is not done in a mean way.

4) Levitron Globe

With the pretty lights, the shortage of globes being prominently displayed, and the illusion of floating, anyone who walks by and sees this will take a second look. They may feel the need to come right in and touch it, which you may find to be a problem. Other people could come up close and stare, or they may stare from a distance until you invite them in.

Most people who see this will have some fascination up until you tell them how it works, or you can keep it a secret and let them figure it out or ask other people. As you can see in the video, it works by way of having a magnet inside the globe, and a set of repelling magnets in the platform. There are some nice lights that make it pretty. So you can imagine men stopping to ask, "How does that work?," and women stopping by to say, "Ooh, how pretty."

It is a distracting piece that could last as little as a split second, or lead to a full blown conversation about something else.

Undesired Muted Phone Call Meeting Games

Depending on where you work, you may have a situation where you are on a conference call, and you either do or do not have to supply input. During most of the phone call, it is likely to be muted so that you hear them, but they cannot hear you. Some people who are looking to move forward in the workplace will continue to work on their computer and go through paperwork while listening.

There are others like me that would like to use the excuse of the meeting, and a closed door, to take a mental break. Listed below are some games that look good on a desk, but can occupy some time in the office.

5) Golf Ball Water Globe

This is the item I have used in a muted phone call setting that occupied my attention for quite a while. I only wish I had known to checkout YouTube for a solution so that I could have done it before I stopped working there.

If people have not seen how to successfully complete the trick, they will try it the way most people do, which will not work most of the time. They move the globe in some way so that the ball is above the tee, and then move the globe back and forth, side to side, so that the golf ball will stay still upon the tee. It doesn't work, because as they move the globe, the water moves again, causing the ball to move more, and so it continues.

If they haven't solved it, it will occupy their mind. I have included a video where someone shows the simple way to solve it. You will be broken forever if you see the answer, because it is fun to try it the way most people try to get it to stay, but I have taken a chance and included the answer here anyway.

6) A Minute to Go Game Globes

There are three versions of this globe game: basketball, skee-ball, and golf. There is a one minute timer, and the only goal is to score as many times as you can. If you want to compete with your coworker, then you would try to score more than them. If you are on a phone call long enough, you could play multiple times.

You would just sit there and move the globe around so that the ball goes through the opening as many times as it can.

7) The Balancing Bird

This bird is a simple toy. Because of how the mass is distributed throughout the bird, when its nose is placed somewhere, it will balance and sit there. From that point, you can spin it around or push on a wing and watch it swivel around. You can even try to balance it on different office objects.

It is during those lulls of the weekday that you could move the bird around, and a co-worker wouldn't mind trying to find a new location while sitting in on a conference call.

8) Hanayama Cast Metal Brain Teaser Puzzles

These are some pretty neat puzzles that look nice sitting on a desk, depending on which one you get. They are also rated at different levels such that the higher the number, the greater the difficulty. So they look good as a paperweight, someone might ask what it is, and it is definitely something that would detract from a phone call when fidgeting with it.

If you look at the video below of the Radix puzzle, a level 4 out of at least 10, it takes a little bit of time to get it apart. If you have never worked with this before, you can see how it might take a while to solve. This could be very distracting for an employee, and In all likelihood, you are going to have to put it back together the way it was. I'm going to list some more puzzles through Amazon that don't have a lot of pieces, and they look good on a desk.

9) Buckyballs, or Magnetic Beads

There are so many videos of things that can be created by having enough of these magnetic beads to create the shape desired, it is almost unbelievable. Buckyballs says that they have sold over 2.5 million sets in only three years, so there are a lot of people purchasing this product. It is a little hard to describe, but when you get them in your hands and start creating different arrangements, it makes work a little more difficult to get back to.

I'm the Boss, I'll Work When I Want

If you are the boss, you can do whatever you want, within legal reasons. At a bigger business, you may have your own office, closed door, and people don't just intrude upon you. Well, people with this earning potential seem to play golf a lot, and with a bigger office, they can work on their putting skills.

10) SKLZ Accelerator Pro Ball Return Putting Mat

With the ability to lock out others, or when you are in charge, you can work on that golf game. If you aren't in charge, it would really help to be close with everyone at your level and above, always get your job done, and then it probably won't be a big deal. A great time to participate in this activity is when things are slow, or when you need to think (or clear your mind).

There are so many options when it comes to an indoor putting green, I thought I would list just one below. With so many variations, you may find that there is a perfect one out there for you.

Do Not Get These Gadgets

There are some items out there that would look good on an office desk, and they move and look pretty and could be stared at for a while. But they could have problems. For me, the key problems would be noise, especially repetitive, and anything that falls into many pieces.

No No #1) Newton's Cradle

The noisy item that I would like people to keep their hands off of when at my desk is a Newton's Cradle, so don't even bring it in. If you don't know what that is, it is the five balls hanging from strings, and when you pull one up and let it go, the ball at the other end flies up, comes back down, and it just keeps repeating. Neat to look at when you are in the mood, but annoying as heck when someone starts to play with one, and you do not care to hear those balls continue to bang each other.

In case you didn't know the name of the item in order to look it up, here is a picture of it below should it interest you...but I advise you, for home use only.

No No #2) Rail Twirler

First off, if you have ever played with multiple rail twirlers, you know that they are not all made the same. Some are hard to get started, others don't want to keep going along the rails properly, and you sometimes find one that works great. Either way, you don't want someone walking into your office and picking up the rail twirler and just let loose.

Sometimes they try to see how fast they can go, and it flies right off. In other cases, you may have gotten the bad batch and have one that doesn't work well, so it's noisy, and then they keep trying it. Annoying. Here is a video of one. Do you want to see multiple people swing by your office and pick that up?

No No #3) Multiple Piece Executive Toys

I have an example below that does look pretty, and you could take your chance on it, but it comes apart into six pieces. What happens if a fellow employee gets it apart for the first time? They probably won't get it back together before they need to leave, so you have to do it, over and over.

What I'm thinking here is different than the Hanayama brain teasers that I listed above. They are likely to not get the Hanayama puzzles apart, and it still looks kind of cool even if it is not together in the original design. Other multiple piece puzzles don't all work the same, so be careful what you bring into your office.

If you can think of other executive toys that should be in my top ten and supplant my other ideas, please make the argument and let me know. I'll be glad to change my top ten. If you have other accessories for offices and cubicles that need to stay out because they are a bad distraction (not a good distraction), let me know that too. I can add to my No No list above if I like it.

Thank you.


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