Business

Santa's in the workplace

So much of the marketing for Christmas aims at individuals. But what of gifts for businesses? Here are some choice items for the small business owner or manager in your life, as well as some gift ideas for those businesses to give to their employees.

Mark the calendar

Sure, your computer, cell phone and everything else tells you the day, but old-fashioned calendars are still fun for the eyes.

Look no further than the 2010 The Office calendar based on NBC's comedy. Perhaps Dunder Mifflin is more dysfunctional than your workplace. The calendar is $12.99 on Amazon.com.

If you want to be certain the calendar makes you feel good about your business, choose the Depressories for 2010 calendar. Not to be confused with those now trite motivational Successories, this one features pages like "Teamwork: Gives you someone else to blame when things get really screwed up." $13.99 on Amazon. (Yes, you pay that extra buck for that extra wit.)

Enjoy the Droid

The newest entry in the smartphone market is Motorola's Droid, and just as the marketing claims, it does what many phones don't. The constantly busy small business owner will appreciate its simultaneous application feature and customization features.

The phone, which uses Google's mobile operating system Android, costs $199.99 with a two-year activation plan from Verizon Wireless.

Tailor your printing

Lexington-based printer maker Lexmark International made headlines recently for its line of Web-connected touchscreen inkjet printers.

The Web-connected printers allow users to create numerous customized settings, similar to macros, that offer users the ability to print at a certain setting or e-mail documents to a mailing list with one touch. It's ideal for a small office, where employees share a printer and can now create their own saved settings rather than constantly changing defaults.

The Interact, aimed at the small office and home office, is priced at $199.99. The Platinum Pro905, for small and medium businesses, is priced at $399.99.

Create a nerve center

There's nothing as productive as having multiple computer monitors (I'm using three right now). Do yourself a favor and buy yourself an extra.

Many computers today can run two monitors, which operate as one larger desktop, without any upgrades. It allows workers to run multiple applications without having to constantly minimize and maximize programs. For instance, one monitor can always be devoted to e-mail, which is a frequent distraction on a single monitor.

Take it from Microsoft's Bill Gates. In 2006, he wrote in Fortune that he used three monitors. "Once you have that large display area, you'll never go back, because it has a direct impact on productivity."

Everyday monitors can range anywhere from as low as $120 or so to upwards of a few hundred bucks.

Party favors

Office holiday parties have been among the easy cuts during the recession, so if you want to reignite the tradition, do so in style by renting out a Lexington establishment like Buster's Billiards & Backroom. "We could help them find entertainment and set up just about any kind of deal they wanted," said Clark Case, owner and manager. The price depends on what a business wants. For more information, e-mail Case at clark@bustersbb.com.

Computer hard wear

Given the economy, more people are turning to repair rather than new purchases. It's the same philosophy for Lexington's Woodland Computers, which strives to reverse "the disposable culture of computers," said owner Jason Collins. "We're big fans of keeping older machines in service." Gift certificates are available.

Out: Megs. In: Gigs.

InsightBusiness, the business-focused arm of Lexington cable provider Insight Communications, offers gigabit ethernet connections for businesses.

Delivered over fiber optic cables, you'll get bandwidth of one gigabit per second, both download and upload. Insight says it's the ability to transmit about 20 iTunes songs or enough words to fill two volumes of encyclopedias per second.

The price depends on a company's location due to installation costs. Visit www.insightbusiness.com for pricing and more details.

Comfy chairs

Everybody needs a nice cush for the tush. Among the most popular office chairs now are those of the mesh-back variety, said Bruce Radcliffe, furniture manager at Lexington's Hurst Group. "They let the air flow go through," he said. Among Hurst's most popular chairs is the Allsteel Relate, which retails for $500.

So much of the marketing for Christmas aims at individuals. But what of gifts for businesses?

Here are some choice items for the small business owner or manager in your life, as well as some gift ideas for those businesses to give to their employees.

What day is it?

Sure, your computer, cell phone and everything else tells you the day, but old-fashioned calendars are still fun for the eyes.

Look no further than the 2010 The Office calendar based on NBC's comedy. Perhaps Dunder Mifflin is more dysfunctional than your workplace. The calendar is $12.99 on Amazon.com.

If you want to be certain the calendar makes you feel good about your business, choose the Depressories for 2010 calendar. Not to be confused with those now trite motivational Successories, this one features pages like "Teamwork: Gives you someone else to blame when things get really screwed up." $13.99 on Amazon. (Yes, you pay that extra buck for that extra wit.)

Out: Megs. In: Gigs.

InsightBusiness, the business-focused arm of Lexington cable provider Insight Communications, offers gigabit ethernet connections for businesses.

Delivered over fiber optic cables, you'll get bandwidth of one gigabit per second, both download and upload. Insight says it's the ability to transmit about 20 iTunes songs or enough words to fill two volumes of encyclopedias per second.

The price depends on a company's location due to installation costs. Visit www.insightbusiness.com for pricing and more details.

Mr. Fix-It

With the rough-and-tumble economy, more people are turning to repair rather than new purchases. It's the same philosophy for Lexington's Woodland Computers, the self-proclaimed "bicycle shop for computers." Gift certificates are available at the shop, which strives to reverse "the disposable culture of computers," said owner Jason Collins. "We're big fans of keeping older machines in service."

Comfy rules

Everybody needs a nice cush for the tush. Among the most popular office chairs now are those of the mesh-back variety, said Bruce Radcliffe, furniture manager at Lexington's Hurst Group. "They let the air flow go through," he said. Among Hurst's most popular chairs is the Allsteel Relate, which retails for $500.

More than nog

Office holiday parties have been among the easy cuts during the recession, so if you want to reignite the tradition, do so in style by renting out a Lexington establishment like Buster's Billiards & Backroom. "We could help them find entertainment and set up just about any kind of deal they wanted," said Clark Case, owner and manager. The price depends on what a business wants. For more information, e-mail Case at clark@bustersbb.com.

Tailor your printing

Lexington-based printer maker Lexmark International made headlines recently for its line of Web-connected touchscreen inkjet printers.

The Web-connected printers allow users to create numerous customized settings, similar to macros, that offer users the ability to print at a certain setting or e-mail documents to a mailing list with one touch. It's ideal for a small office, where employees share a printer and can now create their own saved settings rather than constantly changing defaults.

The Interact, aimed at the small office and home office, is priced at $199.99. The Platinum Pro905, for small and medium businesses, is priced at $399.99.

The nerve center

There's nothing as productive as having multiple computer monitors (I'm using three right now). Do yourself a favor and buy yourself an extra.

Many computers today can run two monitors, which operate as one larger desktop, without any upgrades. It allows workers to run multiple applications without having to constantly minimize and maximize programs. For instance, one monitor can always be devoted to e-mail, which is a frequent distraction on a single monitor.

Take it from Microsoft's Bill Gates. In 2006, he wrote in Fortune that he used three monitors. "Once you have that large display area, you'll never go back, because it has a direct impact on productivity."

Everyday monitors can range anywhere from as low as $120 or so to upwards of a few hundred bucks.

Oh, and I just received three e-mails in the time it took to write this, and I know who they're from without ever moving my fingers from the keyboard.

Droid does

The newest entry in the smartphone market is Motorola's Droid, and just as the marketing claims, it does what many phones don't. The constantly busy small business owner will appreciate its simultaneous application feature and customization features.

The phone, which uses Google's mobile operating system Android, costs $199.99 with a two-year activation plan from Verizon Wireless.

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