My office is literally 62 degrees, without a space heater. However, none of the space heaters I've bought have been able to bring it up to above 65 degrees, no joke. My office isn't that big but it's either getting air from the coldest part of the building that is chilling the IT server room or its just getting it from proximity to that room.

I literally just started the job and honestly it's already pissing me off. I also live in Texas so I'm not going to dress in layers just to accommodate this one job. My entire job can literally be done from home, with a VPN and internet access; I don't need a physical presence here. Is there some sort of case to be made regarding uncomfortable working conditions in an igloo of an office that's distracting me more throughout the day making me think more about the temperature than my actual work?

  • 17
    Have you considered asking them to turn the heat up, or moving your office? You have to take the first step, no one can read minds, so they don't know you're cold if you don't tell them. If you have told them, and they don't care, and it really bothers you that much, then I'd say you could start talk on telecommuting.
    – New-To-IT
    Nov 9 '15 at 14:24
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    Did you go to your boss and simply tell him/her that your office is too cold.
    – paparazzo
    Nov 9 '15 at 14:25
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    Definitely talk to your boss to figure out a solution. But in the meantime you can keep a jacket or sweatshirt at your desk to wear at work. That may even make your case more convincing as people see you wearing it every day.
    – David K
    Nov 9 '15 at 14:44
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    @datfell That's a very adversarial attitude to default to. Assuming that managers are at least semi-competent until proven otherwise will probably be much more productive. I also have to ask: are you at least dressing in layers or bringing a sweater until you've got the heating sorted? Or are you powering through on righteous indignation?
    – Lilienthal
    Nov 9 '15 at 14:51
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    @datfell There's a story of a man who needs to borrow his neighbour's lawnmower. On the way over he imagines in detail all the ways in which the neighbour might refuse, so that when the neighbour opens the door and asks "What can I do for you?" the man immediately yells "Screw you and your lawnmower, I don't need it anyway." Nov 9 '15 at 15:12

Rather than trying to simply make a case to work from home, you should be generally working with your manager (and human resources, if your company has an HR staff) to develop a good solution that works for everyone.

I think that going in with the attitude that you want to work from home because your office environment is uncomfortable will come off as being very demanding, especially since this is a new job. I think that you should approach them with the problem and work together to come up with one or more solutions that work for both you and the company. Adding unnecessary constraints (needing to work from home) will only make it harder to solve the underlying problem (you are uncomfortable in your office because it is too cold).

Work from home may be an option, but you need to be able to keep other options on the table, as well - perhaps the facility maintenance staff needs to do work to better insulate or adjust the airflow to your office, you could move to another office if one is available, you could keep a spare jacket in your office so you don't need to layout outside. Keeping your options open will help you reach a deal that is good for both you and your company.

  • A good rule of thumb is "come with a problem, come with a solution [to the problem]". That makes the boss' job easier and happy boss == happy life.
    – BryanH
    Nov 9 '15 at 17:03
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    @BryanH You shouldn't come with just one solution, though. You want to be seen as someone who wants to work together to solve a problem, not as someone who wants to push their desired solution. Based on the phrasing of the question, I'd be worried that the asker would come across as the latter. Nov 9 '15 at 17:54

I'm going to supplement Thomas Owens's answer: Call the engineering / janitorial staff, too.

I see this play out all too often. I rent an office from another company (since I work in a different city as our company HQ). Recently they hired a new receptionist who was "always cold." I came back from a trip and found my power off. (After first checking to make sure I'd paid my rent) It turns out she had a space heater under her desk that was tripping breakers. This was in late August, and it was 95 F outside.

After getting the breaker reset (and the maintenance staff was sick of it, at this point), I took a pencil from her desk, closed the louvers on the lobby's AC vents down by about 60%, and now everyone's happy.

I would imagine that your AC airflow could be similarly adjusted if you ask.

And remember, wherever you work, ALWAYS make friends with the janitor and the bookkeeper. Life is much easier with them on your side.

  • nice simple solution
    – Kilisi
    Nov 9 '15 at 17:02
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    +1 make friends with "the help" because 1) they are people, too; 2) it is the decent thing to do; and 3) they will be more willing to help you out when you need it
    – BryanH
    Nov 9 '15 at 17:05
  • @BryanH - Very altruistic of you. My reasoning is far more self-serving. :) 1) The bookkeeper will make sure your vendors get paid, which makes your job easier. 2) The janitor has they keys to EVERY room in the building, as well as control of the heating / AC. Nov 9 '15 at 17:10

I live in the tropics and for the sake of my equipment keep my office so cold that I wear a jacket and woollen hat when I'm in it, I don't have any problems concentrating, but if you're not dressing for it, you must really be suffering.

Generally not a great idea to be complaining as soon as you start a job, but you have good cause, 62 degrees seems pretty cold even for a server room and isn't suitable for an office.

Your best option is go talk to your boss about it and tell him you're uncomfortable, he may not be aware of the problem or there may be some reason you are not aware of that it needs to be that cold.

I wouldn't start talking about working from home on the strength of it straight away, that's just going a bit too far for a person who just arrived. And chances are they are several other ways such as moving you to resolve the problem.

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    Well, it's probably not actually 62 in the server room, since there are more heat sources there than in his office.
    – Random832
    Nov 9 '15 at 18:05
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    I keep a fleece jacket on the coat tree in my office. Durring the summer I come to work in short sleeves and do my Mr. Rogers routine when entering/exiting my office.
    – tjd
    Nov 9 '15 at 19:04
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    @tjd Good thinking, I keep a polished well maintained leather jacket in my car because a small percentage of my tasks are done in various server rooms, and if you have to dress ridiculously inappropriately for the weather, you might as well look 'cool'
    – Kilisi
    Nov 9 '15 at 22:24

It is of course possible to ask about working from home, in order to get the temperature problem fixed. If you ask about working from home, with the only explanation that you are freezing in the office, and whenever your boss says that there is no good reason to work from home you say "but I'm freezing", that might get the message through that your office is too cold.

For a bit additional pressure, ask for a day off to recover from the freezing, at a time when you are needed and you know you won't be able to get holiday. Doesn't matter that you can't work from home and don't get the holiday, as long as your boss gets the impression that it's a more peaceful life if he fixes the heating.

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