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I currently work in a large building with an open floor plan. Recently, the thermostat in the building was turned up to only start cooling when it gets to 76 °F (24.4 °C). With a lot of people, and a lot of computers, the temperature in my area hovers around 77 °F (25 °C) all day.

This is pretty hot for a building with little to no air movement. We cannot have fans at our desks either. I have went through the appropriate processes to try and get the thermostat put back where it was, but that failed. The individuals who control the thermostat are perpetually cold.

What can I do to adapt to the hotter temperature inside of the building? I'm extremely sluggish, sweaty, unproductive, and crabby all day long. I need that to stop.

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If other people feel the same I would go ask as a group. There's many reasons why a cooler environment is better, which everyone already knows, so go into them if you want. But I would go find whoever is in charge of the perpetually cold people who control the thermostat and plead my case there. Mentioning that I had already tried the shortcut method, and that I was wondering if it was a cost cutting measure or something causing this issue.

There's nothing wrong with going over peoples heads if you have to on an issue that affects your work and health. However if you're the only one in your area who sees it as a problem, then it's probably best just to suck it up and get a USB fan or even a hand fan and make frequent trips outside where there is some breeze. If asked just tell the truth, 'the heat is getting to you'.

Various Occupational Safety and Health manuals have sections on heat in workplaces, perhaps look at the ones which would apply to your workplace, heat definitely impacts on work performance. However I think 77 degrees falls into an acceptable threshhold, although the lack of air circulation might not. If your workplace is not compliant with OSH then you have a very strong lever.

  • Or maybe the perpetually cold people are correct that they are freezing at the lower temps. The building standard on temperature were developed based on only testing men. Women do have a different temperature comfort level. – HLGEM Nov 5 '15 at 14:52
  • @HLGEM Well, that's not very good, why discount (conservatively, because over half office workers here are women) half the workforce? Just out of interest are women more comfortable in heat or cold? – Kilisi Nov 5 '15 at 19:07
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    Because they set the standard in the late 50s or early 60s when women were not common in the workforce in any "important" jobs. Women are generally colder than men except when they are in menopause when they get a whole lot hotter during a hot flash. – HLGEM Nov 5 '15 at 19:11
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You can buy personal battery operated fans - small enough to carry around in your pocket and even hang from your neck. You can also buy scarves and bandanas filled with gel beads that soak up water. This keeps the scarf damp, so when it evaporates it cools you. It only takes 5 minutes or so to resoak the scarf each day.

You could also see if you can change seats with the people who feel cold - you might both end up happier.

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    My previous company's workplace had climate zones; even if you think it's an undifferentiated expanse of desks/cubes/whatever, changing seats sometimes makes a difference. – Monica Cellio Nov 5 '15 at 2:52
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    A ziplock bag filled with ice can chill you down fairly quickly. – HLGEM Nov 5 '15 at 14:57
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    I will also point out that relocating your desktop computer but not your monitor can makes things feel cooler. I know mine puts out a lot of heat and I moved it so I could get warmer when I worked in the really cold spot in the office. – HLGEM Nov 5 '15 at 14:59
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Wear lighter clothes? My old office was regularly warmer than 90° F in the summer, and I survived in shorts and T-shirts.

We also used fans, wore open shoes, and in very hot days some employees even immersed their feet in a basin filled with water under their desk :-)

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I work in a cubicle floor, and it's well known that due to ventilation quirks there are areas that are hot and areas that are cold. While most people in the cold areas just wear their jackets through the day, a few move from "winter cubicles" to "summer cubicles". If you work in an environment where you can maybe move a few aisles down I'd suggest it to your manager.

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