It can be difficult to sit in one designated space and work for long periods. This can be even worse if the office is hot and stuffy. Whether you work away from home, or in a home office, staying cool is imperative to being productive. You might think getting a fan is the answer to the problem, but there is more to it. What you truly need is to stay cool, and besides the use of an air conditioner, here are a few tips that would help you keep a lower temperature at the office.
Keep Your Curtains Drawn and Windows Open
You need to open your windows for ventilation, or you’ll get stuffy really fast. However, we recommend you keep the curtains drawn. These will block the sunlight, and still allow in a breeze. The direct sunlight will heat not only your body, but also your table, seat, and any beverages you might have with you. The floor and walls of the room will also retain warmth. The sweating will make you sticky and uncomfortable.
Besides, you can try to get a ventilation fan installed at the office if you don’t have close access to the windows. This will help in keeping an active flow of air thereby aiding better ventilation across the office and keep the temperature much bearable during the hot seasons.
Keep Yourself Hydrated
When working in a hot office, water is your “coolest” friend (pun intended). While people prefer cold water, warm water is just as effective in cooling you down. It’s just that, drinking cold water tricks your mind into thinking your temperature is decreasing. However, during the summer season, or particularly when it is hot, you should drink cold water to let down some body heat and feel relaxed instantly.
Water is scientifically proven to decrease the body’s temperature, through sweat. When your body heats up, the sweat glands release sweat onto your skin. This water gains heat from your skin and evaporates. This is called the energy of vaporization. Since the body loses energy to the water, it cools down. Drinking lots of water is a very good way to keep cool in a hot office.
Dress In Cool Clothing
Full-sleeved, formal shirts are a necessity in most office environments. However, if you get the chance to dress casually, choose T-shirts without a second thought. Light colors like white, cream, blue, and pink are perfect for hot days.
Avoid warm colors at all costs especially if the office becomes hot quickly. Light and cool colors reflect light, while dark and warm colors absorb it. The more light you absorb, the more you heat up.
The choice of fabric also plays a huge part in staying cool. We recommend fabrics like Cotton, Linen, Rayon, Silk, Jersey, and Chambray. These fabrics allow ventilation and don’t cling to the body so you don’t feel stuffy. There is going to be better sweat control as well.
Change What You Consume
The first thing to do to stay cool is to avoid caffeine, as it is proven to dehydrate you. Caffeine is a mild diuretic, which means it stimulates the kidneys to flush out more water, and sodium. Caffeine also increases body blood pressure, thus increasing body heat.
While caffeine isn’t a good choice, other hot beverages can help you cool down. Hot beverages stimulate the receptors in your tongue and mouth. They signal the brain that the body is hot, and the nervous system initiates steps to calm you down. Here are some coffee alternatives that you can try – Best Coffee Alternatives For The Workplace
We don’t recommend ice cream and other high-calorie food, no matter how satisfying eating it seems. While it is true that cold food can chill the body, the cold is very quickly replaced by the heat in your system. It doesn’t reduce body heat, but instead, the body has to make an effort in digesting so many calories. These metabolic reactions increase the body’s temperature.
We also advise you to stay away from meat and opt for vegetables like cucumber, celery, and lettuce. Vegetables have high water content, which keeps you hydrated and cool. On the other hand, the body has a hard time digesting meat. This process is called thermogenesis and releases a lot of heat in the body. Eating small portions, and including a lot of dairy in your diet is a good way to keep yourself cool in a hot office.
Similarly, eating fruits is a great way to keep cool at the office. Fruits such as watermelon have high water content and get your temperature down quickly. We don’t recommend that you eat Mangoes as they can cause the body temperature to further increase.
Cool Your Pulse Points
Your pulse points are your wrists, your ankles, and the crooks of your elbows. These areas are called pulse points because you can feel the pulse of your blood, every time your heart beats here. The vessels in these areas are close to the skin. If you press something cold to these points, the blood is cooled as it passes through those vessels. This is a very effective way of losing body heat.
Applying a cold compress, or wet cloth to the back of your neck will cool your brainstem. You can also use ice wrapped in a towel or a bag of frozen peas. Avoid using ice directly on the skin.
Here are some other interesting ways in which you can reduce office burnout – How to Avoid Work Burnout?
Use House Plants
Potted plants are a great way to keep you and the office cool. You can keep them on the window sill to provide shade against the sun. This isn’t the only thing they do to cool you down, though.
Plants perform a process called transpiration. Water from the roots is pulled up through the xylem vessels in the stem. This water evaporates through the stomata on the leaves, thus reducing the temperature of the air. This makes having a potted plant, one of the easiest ways to keep cool in a hot office.
Some good plants that keep your office cool are the Snake Plant (Sansevieria), Rubber Plant (Ficus Elastica), Weeping Fig (Ficus Benjamina), Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema), and Palm trees (Arecaceae).
Use Cold Bottles behind Fans
If you don’t have an air conditioner, you can use frozen bottles to create cold air, by tying these bottles behind a pedestal fan. The fan works by sucking in air through the back and throwing it out in the front. The frozen bottles will cool the air, and the fan will project this air towards you.
If you’re using this method, keep your windows closed. The hot air from outside will increase the room’s temperature. The constant influx of cold air will eventually chill the entire room. However, this cold air will have a high moisture content. You might start feeling sticky so give it a try at first and see how it goes.
Electronics like desk lamps, laptops, and phones release a lot of heat. Light has a heating effect too. We recommend working under mild lighting to stay cool. Desk lamps get hot easily. Either shut the lamp off or switch to a LED bulb. Avoid using other devices like mobile phones, as much as possible.
Switch the Hours You Work
Not all of us have this luxury, but those of us who do should be avoiding the hot hours. This is the perfect way to stay cool by working at the “non-sunny” hours. If you work from home, try to start early in the morning, and get most of your work done by noon.
After 12, once the sun rises is at its highest, take a break. You can resume work after 4, as the heat will have started to lessen. Some people that work from home, switch their working hours to the night during hot months.
Use Reflective Surfaces
You can apply reflective films to your windows. These will reflect the sunlight, which would have normally been absorbed. This will prevent heating. These reflective films are a great solution but come with a major price tag too. If you can’t afford these films, you can keep things like potted plants to block out the sunlight. This is a good way to keep cool in a hot office. Make sure the pots are painted in light colors so that they reflect heat.
While most offices provide their employees with facilities like air conditioners, not having them isn’t something unheard of. Worry not though, because the above-mentioned ways will make sure you keep yourself cool and comfortable. Portable fans, like the ones that work with USBs, are also very good ways to keep cool, given that the air is cold.