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Work/Life Balance

Does your work bring you joy? As this infographic shows, happiness on the job is complex with different factors in effect, from independence to benefits or corporate culture. It’s surprising to see that among the happiest jobs in America are a biotechnologist, customer service rep, and buyer. Nice that teachers are among the top 5.

Playful Work Tools

If you need to inject a little fun into your workspace, there are all sorts of tiny pleasures to brighten your desk. Nendo’s Airleaf Mini is a small, elegant air purifier, shaped like a sprout in a little pot, for clipping onto a fan. 5.5 Designer’s flash drive smartly looks like a key. You can play with the days with this 70s calendar. And Muji makes adorably utilitarian office supplies, like memo pads shaped like a phone icon, to place in a keyboard.

(Image of Multiples Pencil Holder)

Timeless Skills

While we delve head-long into an ever-shortening world of abbreviations, acronyms, and short-cuts, it was nice to see this great piece in the NYTimes on “How to Write.” Author Colson Whitehead reminded us of the practice and skill – and enduring importance – of the ability to write, and write well.

(Image via NYTimes)

Giving Light

Artist Olafur Eliasson is known for his massive installations, but his new project fits in the palm of your hand. Little Sun is a small, solar-powered lantern, designed to bring light to small, rural African communities living off the grid. In collaboration with Frederik Ottesen and part of the world economic forum, the lamp will be widely distributed, beginning in Kenya, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia. Little Sun will also be for sale at the Tate in London, where the lamps will also be on view.

Underwater Activity

A student design concept addresses the major global issue of waste accumulation in our oceans. Veolia is a marine drone that, when deployed on the ocean floor, collects waste (and simultaneously detracting lifeforms from collection by emitting a persistent sound). The concept could become a reality, especially if those using OpenROV – a kit of parts assembled into an underwater robot – see the amount of trash on the ocean floor themselves. Veolia would obviously require more mechanics and funding, but OpenROV is an open-source, DIY project, allowing users to explore the sea while controlling the robot from a computer.

Health Tech

Digital health is booming with some exciting tech addressing needs in new ways. DocBookMD, a new app developed by two doctors, allows doctors to communicate with others via their phone or tablet, sending X-Rays, lab results, and comments on patients. In Singapore, Rapid Rescue is an app which helps first aid responders locate who needs assistance in their vicinity. And apps like these and other great healthcare start-ups now have a Kickstarter dedicated to funding healthcare innovation, with MedStartr. The new crowdfunding site hopes to help fledgling health companies get the start they need, addressing issues like diabetes, fitness, and patient empowerment.

A Recycling Jolt

At the Wert office, we get quick coffee fixes from our much-loved Nespresso machine. So, we were happy to find out that the company is doing its part to ease concerns about waste created from tons of colorful metal coffee capsules used daily. The side panels of the smallest machine, the Pixie, are made up of the recycled metal – with about 100 capsules in each. Customers can recycle used capsules by sending or bringing them to Nespresso stores.

Fresh Food for All

We love seeing Kickstarter work for great causes. Back in September, Stockbox grocers was successfully funded over their goal. This allowed the founders to create a prototype model of their concept – a small, mobile grocer serving healthy options to residents living in food deserts. Roughly 10% of Americans live in these low-income neighborhoods, with limited access to fresh, healthy food. The prototype was a success, and next month, the first storefront of Stockbox opens in Seattle’s Southpark. The grocer is working with investors to launch 3-5 further stores across the U.S. in 2013.

(Via CoExist)

Get Up, Stand Up

Although taught in school to sit at our desks and not stir, research continually shows that sitting for long periods is bad for health. Would you stand at a desk all day rather than sit in an Aeron chair though? Apparently Thomas Jefferson and Winston Churchill had them. And AJ Jacobs goes as far to work/write when on a DIY treadmill desk he rigged. If you can’t get used to the idea though, research suggests to get up and move every hour.

(Via Businessweek; Image via Gerd Arntz)

Make Art; Sleep Well

Some say art is priceless. The Clarion Hotel in Stockholm says its worth a night’s stay. The hotel, which aims to “bring art to the forefront,” recently began a new program offering rooms for the price of a work of art. Each piece┬ámust be submitted in A4 format and signed by the artist. The hotel then owns the artwork, and the artist gets a comfortable nights’ sleep. Not a bad trade.

(Image of artist Julian Schnabel-designed Gramercy Hotel)

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