In Gear - Home Work

From stand-up staplers to virtual letterhead, a collection of friendly tools for your home office.

Who: Mona Cabler mcabler@paranet.com

Company: Sprint Paranet

Age: 38

Has Held Title For: 2 years

Previous Title: Director of Administration

When people see Mona Cabler's business card, they think "party girl." In reality, Sprint Paranet's Director of Fun puts in long, hard hours to make work a celebration for the 1,200 employees at the Houston-based network services company. Her challenge? To instill loyalty and create a stable, supportive culturein an organization where at any one time 90% of the employees are working off-site with clients.

What does fun have to do with work?

Fun and work are mutually reinforcing. When companies say they're employee-centered, they usually mean centered on helping employees achieve the company's goals. We emphasize helping individuals achieve their personal goals.

Why do you have to direct fun?

My role helps combat the corporate mind-set that says you don't mix work with pleasure. Besides, we hire nonstop, and having a director of fun is a great recruiting tool.

But is official fun really fun?

If our parties are any indication, company fun is as good as it gets.

So all work and no play makes a dull employee?

We think so. But fun isn't just parties, gifts, and awards. I work hard to create the basic conditions for fun. That involves activities like hiring, project management, and community service.

Who: Mona Cabler mcabler@paranet.com

Company: Sprint Paranet

Age: 38

Has Held Title For: 2 years

Previous Title: Director of Administration

When people see Mona Cabler's business card, they think "party girl." In reality, Sprint Paranet's Director of Fun puts in long, hard hours to make work a celebration for the 1,200 employees at the Houston-based network services company. Her challenge? To instill loyalty and create a stable, supportive culturein an organization where at any one time 90% of the employees are working off-site with clients.

What does fun have to do with work?

Fun and work are mutually reinforcing. When companies say they're employee-centered, they usually mean centered on helping employees achieve the company's goals. We emphasize helping individuals achieve their personal goals.

Why do you have to direct fun?

My role helps combat the corporate mind-set that says you don't mix work with pleasure. Besides, we hire nonstop, and having a director of fun is a great recruiting tool.

But is official fun really fun?

If our parties are any indication, company fun is as good as it gets.

So all work and no play makes a dull employee?

We think so. But fun isn't just parties, gifts, and awards. I work hard to create the basic conditions for fun. That involves activities like hiring, project management, and community service.

Five Machines in One

Everyone wants a home office with a top-of-the-line printer, a copier, a fax machine, and a scanner. But who can afford them all? And who has the room? Sharp's new five-in-one device includes these must-have tools and throws in PC-fax capacity. The price (about $1,100) is hard to beat. So is the size — a remarkably compact 13x15 inches.

The strongest features of the Sharp UX-3600M are its high-resolution laser printer (600 dpi) and its plain-paper fax. Call Sharp Electronics (800-BESHARP) or visit the Web http://www.sharpusa.com .

Gizmos with Pizzazz

Zelco's peripherals combine personality with purpose. You can choose from a collection of clever tools, including a UtilityCup and a BudVase — both retail for $13 apiece. Call Zelco Industries Inc. (800-431-2486) or visit the Web http://www.zelco.com .

The Boston Grip StandUP Stapler has a joystick-like design that makes it easy to use — and hard to lose. The Grip StandUP Stapler costs under $20. Call Hunt Manufacturing Co. (800-TRY-HUNT) or visit the Web http://www.huntmfg.com .

Your Logo — to Go

What good is a state-of-the-art home office if your business cards and letterhead look like they're out of the 1950s? But don't trudge down to the copy shop — head for the Web!

An online print shop called iPrint http://www.iprint.com allows users to design, view, edit, and order products — from bumper stickers to business cards — over the Net. The site lets you choose among a variety of fonts, colors, and paper stocks. Prices vary but are competitive with those at storefront print shops. Orders are printed and shipped within a week.

Don't Go Postal!

One of the biggest headaches of working at home is sending out mail. The Personal Post Office from Pitney Bowes lets you create your own mailroom. The meter is perfect for sending 5 to 20 pieces of mail per day — though, in a pinch, it can handle 10 pieces per minute. Its built-in modem lets you download postage in an instant and be billed later. You'll never go postal again.

The Personal Post Office costs $19.75 per month. Call Pitney Bowes (800-5PITNEY) or visit the Web http://www.pitneybowes.com .

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