If your office is like most, it’s often not at an ideal temperature. Air conditioning freezes you out in the summertime — except for when it’s not doing its job well and you’re left sweating at your desk. And office heating can be equally fickle. You’re either sweating or wearing fingerless gloves just to keep your hands warm enough to type — but either way, the air’s so dry that it makes your throat feel parched.
If this sounds all too familiar, read on for some creative ways to keep your office space at a comfortable temperature all year long.
If you’re freezing inside your office in the wintertime, the problem might just be an insufficient heating system. Urge building management to consider an inspection of the existing furnace or heater, pointing out that a furnace tune-up can save money on heating costs. If that doesn’t do the trick, it might be necessary to add additional heating sources; electric baseboard heaters can make a huge difference in the ambient heat within a given space.
You could also invest in a heater fan — which can double as a regular fan when the office gets hot — to keep underneath your desk. Keep a sweater handy on the back of your chair, get in the habit of drinking hot tea or coffee and — on particularly chilly days — cover up with a heated blanket.
If your office is sweltering in the summertime, the same suggestion to ask building management about an HVAC inspection still applies. But some other, smaller tweaks might improve matters, too. Close blinds on any east-facing windows in the morning and on west-facing ones in the afternoon. Ask management to invest in better window coverings, and ideally ones that are white on one side; the white side should face toward the window to deflect heat.
To keep yourself cool at your desk, use a fan — you can find ones now that plug into USB drives, so the tech geeks among us can stay cool, too. You can also buy a mister bottle and spritz yourself with water periodically as you sit in front of the fan. The evaporation will help lower your body temperature. Store cold drinks in the office refrigerator and sip them throughout the day to stay hydrated. Also, put your computer in hibernation mode if you’re going to be away from your desk for more than a few minutes; it’ll generate less heat while you’re away.
Temperature fluctuations are a common problem in offices, so one of the best things you can do is dress in layers; you can add or remove garments like cardigans or blazers to be comfortable. Depending on the dress code in your office, when you become overly warm, you could switch out of your shoes and socks and put on a pair of flip-flops. And keep a scarf in your desk, so you can bundle up if you need to.
Rarely will you find an office environment where everyone agrees the temperature is perfect, so be prepared to adapt to your surroundings.