What to do if you can't adjust the thermostat at work.
Ah, summer — that time of year when you’re dripping in sweat the moment you go outside, and then piling on sweaters once you’re at the office. According to a new CareerBuilder survey, 18 percent of men and a whopping 36 percent of women say their office is too cold in the summertime.
In fact, CareerBuilder found that summer office temperatures can cause some, um, heated reactions at work: 15 percent of people said they have argued with a co-worker over their office temperature, and close to 20 percent have secretly changed the thermostat.
But even if you can’t adjust the office temperature, you’re not relegated to shivering your way through the dog days. We’re here to help you survive summer in a cold office. Here are 15 ways to stay warm when you’re stuck working in a virtual meat locker.
This is an obvious, logical choice for staying warm in overly air-conditioned workplaces. A slouchy cashmere cardigan in a neutral color is the ideal go-to: It’s loose enough to easily go over whatever else you’re wearing, you don’t need to wrestle it over your head to take it on and off, the color will match (or at least not clash) with the rest of your outfit, and the soft material is great at chasing away the chill. Better yet: This navy topper from Nordstrom is half off right now, at $124.49.
If you don’t want to do a sweater, a warm-weather jacket is another option for chasing away the chill in a cold office. This one by Tommy Bahama ($135), says, “I’m into summery prints!” rather than, “I can’t feel my fingers!” Bonus: It also has thumb holes.
Open the Window
If you’re lucky enough to have access to a window — one that actually opens, that is — warming up could be as simple as opening it to let in some of those summer breezes when you start to get chilly. Just remember to shut the window after you’ve warmed up.
No window? No worries: A teeny space heater will warm up your personal space quickly. This one has three settings and is small enough to tuck unobtrusively under a desk. Nearly 8,400 Amazon reviewers give it five stars.
If you need some serious heating-up without encumbering your ability to type, these USB-powered heated fingerless gloves ($20) deliver. If your fingers aren’t quite that frozen, regular fingerless gloves ($6.50) will do the trick. They’re small enough to easily stash in your bag or desk drawer.
A little less over-the-top than gloves, shirts with thumb holes also let you pull an extra layer over your hands while keeping your fingers free for important tasks. Although this style tends to be more common in athletic-inspired and workout tops (like this pretty pink running hoodie), there are some options you could get away with at the office. This super-soft sweater with a wide v-neck, for instance, is office-appropriate, not to mention wildly affordable (just $16!) from boohoo.com.
If you’re not already among their ranks, yes, there are folks out there who keep a blanket at their desk and drape it over their legs when July starts to feel like January, courtesy of the office AC unit. Avoid the hobo-Halloween-costume look with a sophisticated throw, like this graphic wool-cashmere blend with a jacquard weave featuring the signature geometric designs famous ceramic artists Kat & Roger. The other key to keeping it chic: Make sure you choose a throw-size (like the 50”x70” this blanket is) rather than a bed-sized blanket. If walking around with a blanket is too over-the-top for you (or makes you feel like Linus from “Peanuts”), an oversized wrap or cape is another option. This recycled cotton poncho in a cool indigo hue says, “I’m accessorizing,” not, “I’m freezing.”
Turn on the Tap
Running your hands under hot water can do wonders and get the blood flowing to frozen fingers.
Hot and spicy foods can rev up your metabolism. Keep some heat literally at your fingertips with this kit from Sriracha2Go.com, which includes a bottle of Huy Fong Sriracha and a pair of keychain-attachment dispensers, one small and one medium, so you can spice up lunch and warm up from the inside out.
A heating pad isn’t just good for soothing aching muscles; it can also be a way to stealthily keep warm during the workday in a chilly office. This bestselling combo pack includes an oversized rectangular pad you could drape over your chair seat or back, as well as a neck and shoulder heating pad that would be handy if you’re stuck sitting right under an air vent. They heat up fast and have automatic shutoff, so you don’t need to worry if you leave work and forget to turn it off.
Although they’re more typically used by hunters, skiers and cold-weather outdoor sports enthusiasts, these long-lasting adhesive-backed heat packs will keep your toes warm for the entire work day. (The hand warmers are an option for frozen fingers: Tuck a pair in your sweater or blazer pockets to give your hands a quick hit of heat.)
A short brisk walk for a cup of coffee or just to get some fresh air will get your blood flowing — and if you take that stroll outside, you’ll get to soak up the heat, to boot. Slip on a pair of rubber-soled, mesh flats to keep your feet cool and comfortable.
When it comes to scarves, give yourself a few options. This chic, tassled silk scarf in an abstract neutral print is perfect if you’re just a touch chilly, or you could break out a heavier wrap if you’re feeling major goosebumps. One silver lining to freezing in the summertime is that you can often score great deals on winter-weight scarves, like this poppy floral cashmere-wool blend at 40% off at Nordstrom.
I will also put in another plug for my favorite sock brand, Smartwool: This two-pack of “hide and seek” socks are invisible under loafers, and the lightweight (and non-itchy) wool knit will keep your toes toasty and wick away sweat.