How to stay cool while working at home or in an office without air con

Struggling to stay cool while working remotely, or in your office, as the mercury rises? These eight tips will help you stay focused as temperatures climb

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Struggling to stay cool at work as the mercury rises? These eight tips will help you stay focused as temperatures rise

The UK is enjoying longer summers and warmer days more often: August 2020 saw temperatures reach 34C or more for six consecutive days. The pleasant weather, however, can be problematic for those whose workplaces don’t have air-conditioning, and those who work from home. Here are eight ways to stay cool at work when the temperatures rise.

1. Keep the blinds or curtains drawn

Stopping the sun from entering a room will help keep things cool. Sunlight shining through into the workspace all day, every day, will almost create a ‘greenhouse effect’. Stopping this from happening for as much time as possible will keep the temperature lower.

2. Use the cool evening air

Opening the windows later in the evening, when the air is cooler, will help to cool the air in the office or your home office ready for the next day. .

3. Reflect and reduce the heat

Considering installing reflective window film to redirect sunlight away from the office and help keep the heat down. If this option is prohibitively expensive, try placing light-coloured objects near the windows to reflect heat away from the room.

4. Try home-made air con

Placing a large bowl of ice in front of a regular fan will mimic the effect of air conditioning. The air from the fan will be cooled as it passes over the ice, lowering the room’s temperature than a standalone fan would do.

5. Create a personal air-con system

For a more personal air con experience, fill a cup with ice or crushed ice and breathe onto it. As the air from your breath can only escape upwards, it will be cooled by the ice and then directed back onto your face, cooling you down.

6. Turn off heat-generating objects

Turn off any electrical items – such as lights – that aren’t being used. This will not only reduce the heat in the room but also how much electricity you consume.

7. Cool your pulse points

Dabbing cold water or holding an ice cube on your pulse points will provide immediate relief from the heat, and will help to cool your entire body.

8. Change the hours you work

If you have the luxury of flexible working, try changing your hours to earlier or later in the day – giving you the chance to work when the temperature is slightly cooler.

This article was first published in July 2013 as ‘How to stay cool in an office without air con’. It was updated in June 2018 and May 2020 for freshness, clarity and accuracy, and again in June 2021.