If you have a desk job and work for an organization — like I do — that keeps indoor temperatures hovering in the frigid zone (68 degrees or less) in the winter, while prohibiting space heaters, here are some tips for how to stay warm at work.One single item won’t do the trick, but try combining several of the following warm-up items:
1) Fingerless gloves. These are the best thing ever for typing and keeping hands warm at the same time. When your finger get so cold you can’t type anymore, pull the little mitten cover our your fingertips and read something for a while so your hands can warm up. (I read about some USB-powered heated fingerless gloves and lust for them, but, alas, I work for a government agency and we can’t plug anything into USB ports for cybersecurity reasons…)
2) Insulated mat. Rubber insulated mats are excellent for keeping your whole body warmer if you work on the bottom floor of a building constructed on a slab, since the cold permeates the room from the floor up. If you have a stand-up desk, be sure to stand on this mat to prevent the chill from the floor creeping up your body. If you sit and put your feet flat on the floor or rest them on an elevated riser, cover the floor or riser with the same insulated mat. This really seems to help!
3) Lap blanket. Yes, I know this conjures up images of little old ladies, but buy the thickest, fuzziest blanket you can find, throw it over your middle from knees to chest and tuck the edges under your body. It’s heavenly.
4) Fleece-lined tights. I’ve tried all kinds of long underwear over the years, but fleece-lined tights under pants are absolutely the warmest. Bonus: in the spring when you stop wearing them, people will think you lost 10 pounds!
5) Layers. Dress in separate layers for tops and bottoms. You can always take something off if you’re too warm.
6) Fleece-lined boots. Buy some knock-off Ugg boots or some similar footwear, layer a couple of pairs of super-thick socks underneath and warm up those cold blocks of ice at the bottom of your legs.
7) Microwavable heating pad or pouch. Buy one or two — like those used for headaches or fleece arthritis gloves or footies — heat them in the microwave, and put them on or near the body part that’s the coldest. I’ve ever slipped them down my shirt! (I work in cubicle-land and there are no spare electric sockets for plug-in devices.)
8) Hat and scarf. Several male coworkers swear that wearing a hat is the answer. A couple of them combine a hat with a wrap-around neck scarf, and they’re ready for the ski slope when the work day is done.
9) Fur-lined fuzzy slippers. When you won’t be moving around for a while, slip these on.
10) Thermometer. No, you can’t wear it — but it makes an excellent argument when you contact Facilities and ask them to turn up the heat and can prove the temperatures are hovering in the mid-60s. One day our Facilities guy came to my cube with an “air thermometer” that he waved around and showed me it read 70 degrees, and, in reply, I simply held up my manual thermometer that read 66 degrees and pointed to it without saying a word. He adjusted the heat in the room.
11) Telework. Do this as often as possible and turn up your home thermostat or layer some comfy clothing under sweatpants and sweatshirts. Somehow, when you’re at home you always feel warmer!
Have other tips how to make it through the work day when it’s so cold you have to go outside to warm up? Please share your ideas!
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