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Work can get monotonous, exhausting and stressful. According to the Wellness in the Workplace Survey 2017, overall stress levels are still moderate to high. This means that stress levels are on the rise in the workplace, with companies with 50+ employees recording more stressed-out employees.

Workload, the pressure to meet deadlines, long working hours and work relationships cause stress. It is therefore up to staff members to find a way to alleviate their stress levels as companies find ways to promote wellness in the workplace.

But who said you can’t add a dash of play to a long and stressful workday?

There are a number of companies that provide their staff with a play area with games like foosball, air hockey, pool or video games. If your workplace does not offer a game zone, then you can turn your desk or office into a fun space for you and your colleagues using novelty and stress-relieving toys.

There are many toys on the market that you can have on your desk to lighten your mind. They come in different sizes and price ranges, so you can find what fits your taste and pocket.

1. Stress Ball 

What better way to relieve some stress than with the appropriately named stress ball. With the Earth stress ball, you can take the weight of the world off your shoulders and squeeze them away.

You can also imagine the best getaway destinations around the work and squeeze for good luck and a dream vacation, all for $6.99.

2. Desktop Mini Zen Garden

You don’t need to go to Asia for some zen. Just get yourself a desktop mini zen garden. It comes with a mini scoop, white sand, river stones, and ceramic decorations.

Check out the provided user book that will help you make it your own zen garden. Get your own zen for $25.99.

3. The Affirmation Button

When having a long, stressful workday, sometimes all you need is some words of affirmation to keep you going as you struggle to meet your deadlines.

The Affirmation Button comes with 10 pre-recorded sayings that will get you through anything. Get some affirmation in the palm of your hands for $15.99.

4. Desktop Arcade Machine

This blast from the past Desktop Arcade Machine will take your stress away. This 16-bit mini replica of an arcade machine comes with 240 games, a 2.5-inch color display, a joystick controller and 2 playing buttons.

The sounds and 16-bit games will have you feeling nostalgic and calm in no time. Enjoy this for $59.95.

5. Retro Slinky

This renowned toy, originally designed for kids, is now a favorite for all ages. You can let your metal retro slinky take a walk across your desk or down the stairs during your break.

Your stress will roll away with every ‘slink’ you hear for only $10.

6. Metal Pin Art

This desk toy is a world of infinite possibilities. When unsure of what desktop stress relief toy to get, the Metal Pin Art is a great option. It lets you create 3D art and is a great conversation starter with your colleagues.

You can create 3D art of your hand, face, office objects, you name it. This is available for $24.99.

7. Rubik’s Cube Classic, $21.00

Let the world’s number one puzzle toy take away some of your stress while at your desk. Test your speed and skills on this multi-colored toy which can be solved in minutes or a lifetime.

Don’t let the fact that Rubik’s Cube Classic has 43 quintillion color combinations that get you down. Test your mind while tackling that project for $19.99.

8. Newton’s Cradle

With a wooden base and strong chrome balls, this is the perfect fit for any desktop. Crack that work project by having some fun with Newton’s Cradle.

This toy that tests the laws of physics and offers hours of fun and relaxation now comes in different designs and sizes. You can get a desktop version for about $3.50.

9. Addictaball

This clear ball with a maze and flashing lights can relieve stress levels, but you have to be patient with this desktop game.

The Addictaball is one of those stress toys that tests your dexterity and hand-eye coordination. Simply guide the ball through the maze to win. It usually goes for about $34.99.

10. Finger Puppets

Each puppet comes in different colors and varying facial expressions. These 2-inch Finger Puppets can be placed on your work pens and you can create your own personal puppet show when on a break.

You can also get Christmas, Cute Cartoon or Veggie finger puppets depending on your preference. The costs range between $0.41 and $6.95.

11. Magnetic Fuzzy Face

This mini-game makes a great stress reliever. Stretch your creativity by drawing hair or a mustache on the Magnetic Fuzzy Face using a magic wand to move around the lead shavings in the game.

There are assorted designs that you can choose from starting at $10.

12. Drum Set – Model Kit

Channel your inner rockstar with the drum set model kit. This mini drum set is easy to assemble and doesn’t require glue to put it together.

You can also choose from a bass guitar, movie projector and many other model kits from $19.99.

13. Flashing Neutron Ball

This is your personal light show. You can bounce this 3-inch interwoven star, fidget with it or stretch it and the center will glow.

The Flashing Neutron Ball goes for $9.99 and is not only a great stress reliever but also a great toy for kids five years and older.

14. Mesh Squishy Ball

Just squeeze the ball and it will pop out through the mesh in a burst of assorted colors.

Aside from being a stress reliever, the Mesh Squishy Ball is also a great sensory toy. There are many variations and sizes which cost anything from $10.79 and beyond.

15. Desktop USB Vacuum

Combine cleaning your desk or machine with some time out of your busy schedule. All you have to do is plug this Desktop USB Vacuum to a USB cable and clean away.

It comes in assorted colors between $1.40 and $4.

16. Finger Log Rolling

This is a great way to challenge your colleagues to a game of who has the strongest fingers. The kit comes with a basin to hold water, the log, finger shoes, and an instruction book.

Take the stress away while at your workstation with the Finger Log Rolling for about $20.

Stress Toy Rules

  • Avoid loud or noisy toys if your workplace demands silence from its staff. To avoid being accused of insubordination, keep the noisy pieces for your desk at home.
  • Do not get carried away while on duty. Many of these stress-relieving toys can take time away from your official duties. Discipline yourself and your colleagues when using stress toys.
  • Go for smaller toys when sharing desk space. Even when customizing your workspace, be considerate towards a colleague if it’s a shared space.
  • Avoid offensive Toys. Toys with sexual connotations or other offensive themes may not be the best way to make friends at work. Choose neutral toys that will not go against office policy.

Photo by Alexas_Fotos / CC BY


I'm Katrina McKinnon, founder of McKinnon Group and Small Revolution. I'm using my 20 years' experience in building and operating online businesses to create engaging educational materials that helps others become successful online workers. Find me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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