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How to Stay Warm in an Office Tundra

Winter officially started in late December but some workers feel as though they live in the tundra year-long in their offices. Frigid temperatures not only make you extremely uncomfortable but multiple studies have shown it can increase feelings of sadness and negatively impact your productivity. A study published in the journal HVAC&R Research found that those in offices with temperatures in the low 70s had decreased productivity and made more mistakes than their warmer counterparts. The cold is distracting and, after all, it takes time to scrape the ice from your computer monitor. Keep Jack Frost at bay and stay warm with these tips.

Blanket Insulation

Wrapping up with a blanket is a great way to keep your teeth from chattering. Blankets don’t create heat, but they do keep the heat your body is generating from escaping. While you stay warm, you can also make a fashion statement. Pull out a snowman blanket to display your festive side during the holidays, or maybe one in your company’s colors to show team spirit. Check with management and make sure it’s “cool” if you do the blanket technique.

Don’t Spare the Headwear

Humans lose about 30% of our heat through your head, so it’s worthwhile to cover it up. There are plenty of hat styles to choose from (stocking cap, aviator or newsboy) to stay warm. Or, go for full-face coverage with a ski mask – though you should refrain from that one if you work at a bank.

Warm Beverages – The Placebo Effect

This may blow your mind, but warm drinks and alcohol won’t keep you warm. So keep the flask at home. Alcohol consumption actually decreases core body temperature.

Your mouth is among the most sensitive parts of your body, so drinking hot beverages gives you the impression that you’re heating up. It’s all in your head.

In fact, you’re better off drinking iced water. When drinking hot liquids your body will try and counteract the effects of the hotness, so your body temperature will actually drop. Cold liquids will have the opposite effect and raise your core temperature.

Coffee is an exception to this rule, but it’s because the caffeine stimulates your metabolism, encouraging your body to burn fuel.

Layer Up

Just like dip and cake, the more layers the better. Snuggies and cozy robes are great, but if you’re in a more professional setting, you may want to opt for a cardigan or blazer. You can also wear a pair of leggings under your pants, or accessorize with a cozy scarf. Remember to avoid open-toed shoes to keep those feet covered. Feet have a large surface area and not much muscle, so they make a big impact on body temperature.

Keep Moving

Get up and moving not only helps you lose weight, but also keeps you warm. You can save CrossFit for the gym, but some arm rotations, toe touches (let’s be real, more like shin touches) or taking a few flights of stairs can get your body temperature up.

Fans

Does your office have fans? Fans normally rotate counterclockwise, pushing cool air downward. For the opposite effect, set your fan to run clockwise. Just like the Cha Cha Slide – reverse, reverse.

Don’t Let Those Ears Go Bare

Your ears are thin and made entirely of cartilage, making them more susceptible to the cold. Opt for large headphones rather than ear buds or bring back the 80’s with a bright ear warmer headband.

Seeing is Believing

Choose a tropical screensaver for your monitor. In some ways, a person’s perception is their reality, so deceive your brain into thinking that you’re at the beach soaking up the warm sun. Pair it with a strawberry daiquiri with a little umbrella in it, and you’re all set – though may want to hold the rum. You are still at work and, remember, alcohol doesn’t help in your warm pursuit.

The Coveted Window Seat

Cats know how to do it – curling up in the windowsill soaking up the sun. Try to sit by a window at work to get warm and if you’re not able to, try working from home where you can control the thermostat and your comfort. This may be another reason why 80 – 90% of the workforce wants to work from home at least part time.

Take a Deep Breath

Email Apnea: a temporary absence or suspension of breathing, or shallow breathing, while checking email.

Must of us have heard of Sleep Apnea, but Email Apnea? It’s quite common, with about 80% of us being afflicted, according to studies conducted by former Apple executive Linda Stone. Breathing helps regulate your body temperature, remember to do so often, both for warmth and, you know, life.

Let us know in the comments if you have other tips on how to stay toasty in the office. And for other workplace tips, check out accountingprincipals.com.

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Accounting Principals

We're Accounting Principals--a leader in finance and accounting staffing. In fact, since 2010, we've been part of Adecco Group, a Global 500 company and leader in staffing services around the world. But this isn't staffing as usual. We take quite a different approach than most staffing agencies. A people-focused approach. We believe in forming real relationships with both our clients and our candidates. We want to understand the needs on both sides.

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