Many of us spend half a lifetime in an office. Strange then that so few offices provide more than rudimentary comfort. One of the most common complaints in winter is temperature. Employees are either too cold, too hot or both at the same time.

Failing to invest in office climate control makes no sense. Every penny counts, but dysfunctional boilers and uninsulated roof voids simply bleed money. Additionally, there is clear evidence that productivity takes a big hit when workers are cold. Experiments in an insurance office conducted by Cornell University found that employees make 44% more mistakes when temperatures are low and work output falls by 50%.

There is no substitute for an efficient HVAC system, but there are plenty of quick and simple remedies you can consider.

Mats, muffs and mittens

Your Granny should have taught you that if you keep your feet and head warm you can forget the bit in between. Heated floor mats consume barely more than a lightbulb but make a huge difference placed under desks. There are also heated seat covers for office chairs and even heated mouse pads powered by USB.

For the other end, if your job involves wearing headphones – wear big ones! Ears exchange a lot of heat with the air so keeping them covered is surprisingly effective, and very cheap. If you don’t mind looking like Bob Cratchit we also heartily recommend fingerless gloves when typing.


Every person and every office is different. Body temperature depends on metabolism and how sedentary you are. Many heating systems fail to equalise the temperature around open plan offices, or make allowance for the effects of drafts, windows and office equipment. Fitting individual room thermostats or thermostatic valves to radiators helps deliver heat where it is needed instead of where it isn’t.

Experienced advice is often free, so why not use it? Heating specialists can advise you about infrared ceiling heaters, heat pumps, fan coils and panel heaters.

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