HR Strange But True!
November 18, 2010

Every holiday season, there has to be a new fad gift, especially one for co-workers. This year’s entry may make your colleagues happy, but your IT manager may pull the plug on it!

Last winter, the appearance of the ubiquitous Snuggie® blanket in the workplace had our HR Forum abuzz. This year, as the economy continues to have employers turning down the thermostat—as well as banning space heaters, Japanese manufacturers had the idea to help cube dwellers combat a cold workplace by crossing “warm and fuzzy” with “computer-generated”—heat that is. The USB blanket is here!

A takeoff on last century’s electric blanket, this high-tech velour creation is just as fashionable as a Snuggie, but with the added feature of a cord that plugs right into the USB port of a computer; no wall sockets are needed.

Also, while you can’t regulate the warmth from a Snuggie, the new USB blanket can be adjusted from low (plug into one USB port) to high (two ports) up to a toasty 115 degrees.

Another added feature is a big button that turns the lap blanket into a shawl—the better to keep your shoulders and neck warm. Available all over the Internet, these polyester fleece blankets come in blue or brown and range in price from $25 to $30, plus shipping. There are also USB-heated hand warmers and mouse pads (huh?) available for less money.

Ever vigilant to areas of potential workplace friction, HRSBT asked a corporate IT manager what he thought of this new product. While he didn’t foresee any danger to computers and said he wouldn’t ban it outright, he shook his head. “Why do you think they banned space heaters? They suck up electricity. That’s what will happen here.”

Well if your IT department gets huffy over the blankets and forbids them, perhaps you can go get a new Snuggie to keep warm—perhaps the one with peace symbols!

TGIF - It's HR
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