Your team is at the cutting edge of office technology. You’ve got ergonomic chairs, comfortable headsets, and industry stoftware. Clearly, your bosses know how to set up an office to provide top-notch customer service. So why then can’t they figure out how to use the flipping thermostat? Office temperature is the number one complaint of professionals across the country. No matter what time of year it is or what the temperature is outside, it’s always either sweltering or freezing inside. While instances of office overheating do happen from time to time, more often than not you’ll find yourself shivering in your dress slacks as you do your best to focus on working well despite the apparently arctic conditions.
In the summer, offices often over-crank the AC based on some misconceived notion that we all wear wool 3-piece suits to work and in the winter, the energy-efficiency craze has many employers turning down the heater with an assurance that you can “just wear a sweater” and everything will be fine. So here you are, fingers slowly turning blue as you try to keep them on the keyboard and wondering if nearby coworkers or clients on the phone hear your chattering teeth. The sweater would be a great idea if your body was generating enough heat to be retained but it still doesn’t keep your legs, hands, and ears from freezing. What do you do?
Fortunately, we’ve been there. We know what it’s like to feel like you might as well be one of Santa’s elves because clearly you’re working at the North Pole, and we have a few solutions. Try a few of these and see if your customer service quality and ability to feel your fingertips doesn’t improve significantly.
1) Hot Broth Instead of Coffee
Our first tip is to ditch the coffee. There are actually a number of reasons why coffee is bad for work but in this case, it’s that caffeine constricts the blood vessels making it harder for warm blood to get to your freezing extremities. Instead, consider keeping powdered soup broth and an electric kettle at your desk to provide internal heat with a steady supply of hot broth. A little cooked rice helps the broth stay piping hot and makes it a tasty snack and beverage in one.
2) Blankets, Hats, Socks, and Gloves
Of course, no matter how much hot broth you drink, that heat will dissipate out of your feet, head, and hands if you don’t manage to keep it in. Don’t be shy about packing yourself a stay-warm soft kit and gearing up as you settle in at your desk.
- Big soft blanket or snuggie
- Soft beanie hat or a pashmina scarf for the ladies
- Tight fleece fingerless gloves
- Compression, thermal, or electric socks
3) Run and Kick Your Legs Under the Desk
One of the best ways to fight being cold is to promote blood flow. For the same reason you ditched the coffee (we know you didn’t, but let’s pretend), getting your blood flowing with invisible deskercising will warm you up and, as a bonus, burn some calories. Don’t just stem (bounce your legs absent-mindedly), actively run and kick them under the desk moving those big muscles to pump blood.
4) Flex Your Abs
Are your fingers freezing no matter how warm you get your core temperature? This might be the result of poor circulation in combination with the low temperature. If the leg exercises didn’t do it, here is one amazing trick for staying warm (and fit) at your desk: Flex your abs. No, really. Just start working out your stomach without worrying about reps or results. Your fingers will be warm in no time.
Of course, this is only the first half of our two-part article on how to stay warm when your office is an icicle. Join us next time for part two where we’ll cover foot warmers, hot water bottles, and vent management strategies.