+ Work Wednesdays

Belle’s Cure for the Freezing Office

This week, discussions about the office thermostat have been everywhere.  Turns out that many office thermostats were set with 45-year-old, 154 lb. men in mind.  As a woman who has shivered her way through offices both government and private, I say, “duh.”

Even after my former Boss gave the women control of the office temperature, we all agreed we’d rather freeze than listen to the men bitch about how they were hot.  So if your employer isn’t willing (or can’t) crank up the temperature, here are some tips on how to survive.

Heating Pads and Foot Warmers. Most office won’t allow space heaters for fire-safety reasons.  I keep an inexpensive heating pad in my desk, and I sit on it almost year-round.  It warms me up, without forcing me to layer up.

If you want something even more discreet, try a foot warming pad. Just keep it plugged in under your desk, and enjoy toasty feet all day long.  Sometimes keeping your feet warm is enough to keep you warm.

Scarves and Shawls. If you’re not looking to go the electrical route, there are always cozy scarves and shawls.  I recommend you choose something large in a midweight, perhaps in a metallic or a neutral color. I like this White & Warren cashmere scarf for something luxurious.  Or this shockingly affordable Pashmina from World Market.

I don’t go in for the full blanket.  I think it looks a little childish for a woman to be wrapped in a blanket while sitting at her desk.  But if you need it, you need it.  Just make it a nice blanket.

Miscellaneous Products. Over the years, readers have suggested their favorite ways to keep warm at the office.  A few people have recommended these discreet Keysocks for keeping your toes warm.  A co-worker of mine loves hand-warming, fingerless gloves.  You can also look into a beverage warmer for your desk to keep your coffee or tea toasty warm.

Any other tips for keeping warm at work?  Besides working from home, of course.



  1. Sara says:

    This line: “…we all agreed we’d rather freeze than listen to the men bitch about how they were hot.” Pathetic, guys.

    I took your advice on the heating pad and it was a lifesaver. Only problem was that the cord kept getting twisted in my rotating chair!

    August 6, 2015/Reply
  2. Anna says:

    My hands are my biggest problem. Especially my right (mouse-using) hand, probably because it’s extended away from my body constantly. I’ve taken to working in our storage room where we have a table and chair when I really need to concentrate. I just can’t when I’m freezing.

    August 6, 2015/Reply
    • N says:

      Totally agree. My right hand suffers from carpal tunnel and having it cold and numb is really just the icing on the cake.

      August 6, 2015/Reply
  3. N says:

    I took your advice on the heating pad last year but I used it on my lower back and with my sensitive skin I started to get subtle burn scars- eek! So back to my tiny space heater which the House inspection service just deemed “unsafe”. I am so cold and uncomfortable during the day I usually leave with a headache from the constant strain of trying to warm myself up or quell the shivers. It’s so frustrating.

    August 6, 2015/Reply
  4. Erika says:

    Merino wool camis! And several layers on top of that. The only problem is getting to and from work without overheating. Today was a really nice summer day and outside people were in t-shirts and shorts, and nice little summer dresses. I was in three layers, the topmost being a wool cardigan…

    August 6, 2015/Reply
  5. An non says:

    Got to ask, why are the women always accommodating the men? Can’t the bitchy boys buy a desktop fan or something??????

    August 6, 2015/Reply
    • Belle says:

      Because at least my coworkers never stopped bitching. Whiny babies tend to get their way, regardless of gender. It’s kind of sad, but sometimes, necessary.

      August 6, 2015/Reply
  6. Brittany says:

    I keep a pair of socks at work that really helps on days that I don’t have to do much running around the office!

    August 7, 2015/Reply
  7. sherry @ save. spend. splurge. says:

    I second the W&W cashmere pashmina. I own 3 (I know I am nuts) but they are PERFECT for the freezing office while looking chic.

    August 15, 2015/Reply
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