Tips for staying cool in the office

As the heat continues to leave the UK scorching, have compiled a list of ways to keep cool in the office

Cutting out teas and coffee, investing in a personal fan and only eating small portions are some of the ways that sweltering staff can beat the heat and keep cool at work.

With the UK warming up again, office experts have compiled a list of some of the best solutions to an overheated workplace that will keep employees cool and focused.

Among the other top tips recommended are keeping windows closed, dressing appropriately, making sure you’re constantly hydrated and avoiding the desire to go for a sunny walk on your lunch break.

Rounding off the list is making sure the blinds are closed, avoiding electronic devices and pouring cold water onto your wrists.

Chris Meredith of says, “Keeping cool at work is crucial to making sure that employees stay comfortable, alert and productive throughout the working day.

“If the building doesn’t have air-conditioning it can start to feel more like a sauna than an office, so finding other ways to reduce the temperature is a must.

“Most of these solutions are simple but effective ways to keep your office thermometer from going into overdrive, so if you can’t stand the heat at work you might want to try a few of them out.’

These are some of the best solutions to keeping cool in your office, according to Note that a lot of these can apply to working from home or working outside too.

Dress appropriately

If you want to stay cool at work, the first thing you should look at is what you’re wearing. Thick shirts are perfect for winter, but wearing them in the scorching heat leaves hideous sweat patches. Shirts made of linen are an ideal alternative, either buttoned-up or unbuttoned over a t-shirt. Also consider a maxi dress if the pattern is suitable for the workplace. You can even get shirt-style dresses that fit the bill perfectly.

In any case, make sure you’re dressed appropriately, otherwise you’ll be in permanent discomfort from the start of your day until the end.

Personal fans

Getting your own fan is an investment that will go a long way, particularly if your office doesn’t have air-con. Prop one up next to your office computer, and the only time you’ll need to worry about the heat is whenever you get up from your desk. Putting a glass of ice water in front of the fan will act as a makeshift air conditioning system too.

Keep hydrated

This may sound obvious, but a lot of office workers tend to forget that sitting at your desk for most of the day doesn’t mean you’re not quickly dehydrating. Try putting a water bottle in the freezer overnight, meaning that the next day you’ll have a constant supply of ice cold water throughout the day. Supply bottled water for your staff if there’s no access to drinkable tap water.

Cut out the coffee

Having a hot drink at work doesn’t mean that your body will start to feel hotter, but the caffeine in tea and coffee can increase heart rate and subsequently blood flow, causing your temperature to rise. If you must have a cup of joe, have it earlier in the day when the temperature is lower.

Avoid a big lunch

Small meals are a must if you don’t want to become too overheated and sluggish at work. Eating big portions means that your metabolism must work harder to digest it, which increases your bodies’ temperature.

Keep windows closed

Naturally, you’ll be inclined to think that opening a window lets in a breeze and therefore cancels out the hot air in your office. In fact, the complete opposite is true, as having windows open replaces the cold air you built up in your office with the outdoor heat.

Avoid your lunchtime walk

When you’re sitting at your desk all day, there’s nothing you want more than to get outside on your lunch break and go for a stroll. Of course, in sweltering heat it only takes a quick walk around the office block to leave you dripping in sweat, so as painful as it may feel, your best bet is to stay inside so you’re close to the cooler air.

Keep the blinds closed

As much as we all enjoy working in offices with plenty of windows, if the piercing sun is proving too much then it’s time to close those blinds. You’ll have to work by artificial light, but you’ll be a lot cooler for doing so.

Water on your wrists

You might look slightly bizarre going to the bathroom and running your wrists under the tap, but this cools the main veins that run through them and will lower the temperature of your blood flow. This also works for the bend in your elbows.

Avoid electronic devices

Phones, computers, tablets; electronic devices are crucial to the day-to-day working of office life, but they also give off a lot of heat. It’s impossible to avoid using them while at work, but limiting your usage wherever possible can keep you that extra bit cooler.

Adjust working hours

If you can’t adjust the environment, adjust the working hours. If they ask, consider letting employees start earlier and finish earlier or to work in the evening if their role allows. Not only does this help them avoid working during the hottest and most uncomfortable part of the day, it could save them a scorching hot commute too. It could also make life easier for those who work in non-office-based workspaces such as factories.

Further reading on staying cool in the office

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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