January 24, 2022

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CIOs Share Their Favorite Work-From-Home Gadgets

The past two years of remote work reveal that for chief information officers, architects of enterprisewide technology transformation, few tools are as important as a decent computer and phone. CIO Journal asked IT executives to describe their favorite work-from-home gadgets.

Dave Williams, chief information and digital officer at pharmaceutical maker


& Co., and

Francesco Tinto,

CIO at drugstore chain

Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc.,

both nominated laptops as their go-to tech tools. “I’m not a big gadget guy,” admitted Mr. Tinto.

Anil Bhatt, CIO of health insurer Anthem Inc. and Ramon Richards, CIO at mortgage finance giant Fannie Mae, cited their

Apple Inc.

iPhones as their favorite work-from-home gadgets. Mr. Richards also praised his Apple Watch. “It’s really all just been about staying connected. In a strange way, connectivity feels a lot higher working from home,” he said.

“Many of us didn’t anticipate we would be spending so much more time in front of our computer,” said Shadman Zafar, CIO of global consumer bank at Citigroup Inc. He makes the most of that time with an under-the-table elliptical machine. “This gadget helped me stay active throughout the day even when I’m sitting at my desk,” he said. Also helping matters, the Herman Miller chair Mr. Zafar cited as his other favorite gadget.

Rajat Taneja,

president, technology, at payments company

Visa Inc.,

listed his digital exercise system, Tonal, as his favorite gadget. “It allows me to have high energy when I work as the exercise keeps my well-being balanced,” he said.

“I couldn’t imagine living without Zoom,” said Brian Rice, CIO at Cardinal Health Inc. Several CIOs listed peripherals that cater to videoconferencing as their favorite gadgets.

Paul von Autenried,

CIO at biopharmaceutical company

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.

, and Carman Wenkoff, CIO at discount chain

Dollar General Corp.

, both mentioned owning a good microphone. “I think we’ve all experienced too many examples of people struggling with can-you-hear-me audio,” Mr. Wenkoff said.

Eric Johnson, CIO at software company

Momentive Global Inc.,

swore by a good headset. “There’s a lot of noise and distractions in your house and your world,” he said, “This allows you to be very kind of laser focused, and I think be much better and engaged.”

Jack McCarthy, CIO at the State of New Jersey Judiciary, spoke highly of his noise-canceling headphones. “The ability to listen to a conference, conference call, or even just music without interrupting everyone else in the house is paramount to work-from-home success,” he said.

Mastercard’s Ed McLaughlin cobbled together a lighting solution: a table lamp covered by a face mask.


Ed McLaughlin

Sticking with the videoconferencing peripherals, Mr. McCarthy also celebrated his ring light webcam. “Having consistent lighting eliminates some of the issues we get depending on where the sun is hitting the windows.”

Ed McLaughlin,

president, operations & technology, at payments company

Mastercard Inc.,

cobbled together a lighting solution. His favorite gadget is a table lamp covered by a face mask.

“Early in the pandemic lockdown, when everything suddenly shifted to Zoom and Teams, I found that my room lighting was terrible for video,” he said. “Taking inspiration from broadcast, I grabbed what I had available (some spare desk lamps and white surgical masks) and mocked up studio lighting diffusers.”

For Edward Wagoner, CIO at commercial real-estate company

Jones Lang LaSalle Inc.,

happiness is an Uplift standing desk. “I cannot believe I ever lived without my Uplift standing desk,” he said. “Lower back pain from sitting for hours has virtually disappeared.”

The desk that belongs to Mark Spykerman, CIO at drug wholesaler AmerisourceBergen, must be fairly large. How else to support his preferred gadget(s): three monitors?

For some IT executives, it is caffeine before coding. Colleen Berube, CIO at software company

Zendesk Inc.,

credits her “super-automatic espresso machine,” for replacing her visits to the local coffee shop.

Mark Brooks,

CIO at managed-care provider

Centene Corp.

, celebrates his USB-enabled coffee mug warmer.

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