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Best gadgets for employees returning to work after COVID-19 lockdown

Here are some of the best office gadgets to help reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus in-house as employees return to work amid a global pandemic.

Mere months into the coronavirus pandemic, some states are already beginning to lift lockdown measures to reduce impacts on their local economies. In the coming weeks and months ahead, more states will follow suit meaning droves of employees will again be braving the distance and returning to work around the country. Without a doubt, the modern office will see plenty of new safety protocols to minimize the risk of spreading the virus in-house.

This remodeling will surely include the triumphant resurrection of the unbeloved cubicle from yester-century. For others, room dividers will transform the open floor plan into a peculiar plexiglass labyrinth of sorts. Even so, there are many additional precautions to take at the workplace during this public health crisis. From reducing the reliance on the communal office coffee pot to investing in dishwasher-safe office accessories, here are some of the best gadgets to fight the spread of the coronavirus as the labor force returns to work amid COVID-19 en masse.

Molekule Air Mini+

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Image: Molekule

An air filtration system is an obvious investment during the coronavirus outbreak and the Molekule Air Mini+ is a great option. The onboard PECO filtration system is engineered to capture and destroy viruses, bacteria, and other airborne contaminants. This model also syncs with the Molekule app allowing you to easily gauge the health of the filter and replace it as needed. The Air Mini+ is designed to accommodate rooms 250 square feet and under, making this unit ideal for smaller offices. Molekule also offers a larger model to filter larger spaces.

$499 at Molekule

CASETiFY UV Sanitizer

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IMAGE: CASETiFY

One of the most contaminated objects are cell phones. Research from the University of Michigan's School of Public Health determined that the average cell phone is exponentially dirtier than a standard toilet seat, by a factor of 10, in fact. As a result, these devices exist as a petri dish of unsavory microbes and that's certainly less than ideal during a modern plague. Fortunately, there are a few workarounds far more convenient than personally sanitizing these devices multiple times a day.

Around the globe, public health officials have UV-C lights to combat the coronavirus on public transit systems, hospitals, and elsewhere. The CASETiFY UV Sanitizer functions on a smaller scale by showering the cell phone in disinfecting UV-C light in between uses. For added utility, the overall compartment is also large enough to disinfect other commonly handled items such as keys, wallets, and sunglasses.

$120 at CASETiFY

The Hook Door Opener Multi-Tool

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IMAGE: The Ridge

When it comes to combating a microscopic contagion, there's an inherent risk with many day-to-day tasks such as touching handrails and opening doors. To assist, there are a variety of portable devices designed to help minimize necessary contact with surfaces while we are out and about. This clever multitool from The Ridge allows individuals to open doors and turn door handles without physically touching the surfaces by hand. The front of the multitool comes to a blunted point, making the accessory practical for other routine tasks such as pressing buttons on an ATM or entering a pin code to access a building. The multitool comes with a belt clip for easy access and added convenience on the go.

$40 at The Ridge

Immutouch

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IMAGE: Immutouch

It's been estimated that people touch their faces about 16 times every single hour. With every inquisitive rub of the eyebrow or perplexed scratch of the forehead, there is the risk of inadvertently contracting a seasonal flu strain or far worse. A new wearable called Immutouch looks to nix this nasty habit by vibrating whenever it senses that a wearer's hand is approaching their face. At first, it's necessary to calibrate the device so it can sense when your hand is approaching your eyes, nose, mouth, etc. Habitual face-touchers may want to consider two units, one for each hand, as an added safeguard.

$50 at Immutouch

LARQ Self-Cleaning Water Bottle

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Image: Amazon

The LARQ self-cleaning water bottle is a great way to ensure your drinking water is safe to sip during the pandemic. Similar to the aforementioned CASETiFY offering, LARQ uses an internal UV-C light to purify the contents of the water bottle. Simply press the button and the system will sanitize your drinking water in 60 seconds. For added convenience, the bottle automatically runs the UV-C light system every two hours. As for insulation, this device will keep your hot contents up to temp for approximately 12 hours and keep your cold items chilled for about 24 hours. An onboard micro-USB offers convenient recharges on the go.

While the LARQ water bottle and the water filtration system may ensure that your drinking water is clean, the protection extends only to the contents inside. As anyone who regularly tows a water bottle around knows all too well, a drop or two is almost a given. That said, studies have shown copper to have natural antimicrobial and antiviral properties, making this material an exceptional first line of defense against the coronavirus. It's been estimated that the coronavirus can typically only survive on a copper surface for a few hours, meaning the bottle itself will be naturally sanitized after a solid night's sleep without needing to put the container in the dishwasher. The company Copper H20 offers a variety of copper water bottles for those looking for a low-tech contamination solution.

$95 at Amazon

K-Mini Single Serve Coffee Maker

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IMAGE: Keurig

The modern office will see plenty of changes as many return to work in the weeks and months ahead. A community receptacle such as a shared coffee pot will be exceptionally less appealing. To assist, Keurig offers a compact personal coffee maker to reduce the risk of cross-contamination at the workplace. The K-Mini is ideal for personal use and at just five inches wide, the model fits easily on a desk without taxing limited space.

$80 at Keurig

WetKeys Waterproof Soft-Touch Keyboard

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Image: Amazon

In recent weeks, common household disinfectants have been priced at a premium online and are often unavailable in most stores. That said, the ability to readily clean a device with soap and water is preferential for employees returning to work during the pandemic. WetKeys has created a series of waterproof office items such as this dishwasher-safe keyboard for convenient cleaning and peace of mind during the outbreak. The company also offers a series of waterproof mice for those so inclined.

$35 at Amazon