Working from home without a fan? Here are five ways to keep cool in a heatwave

As temperatures are set to soar around the UK, it is inevitable that many stores will soon display ‘out of stock’ signs above where their electric fans once were.

As a result, working from home throughout a heatwave can be challenging, especially if the property lacks outdoor space.

To help you keep your cool inside without a fan when working from home, Stacey Dutton at the home brand Unclutterer shares five tips – and the science behind each practice.

1) Cool your body, not your home

On a hot day, an assumption is often made that focus should lay on cooling your home. However, your emphasis is better placed on your actual body, instead.

Applying a cold compress to points of your body where a strong pulse is located works to cool it from the inside out. Of course, having an ice maker handy (like the ones from Ice Maker Pros) would come in handy during these situations. 

Your body’s temperature is regulated by the hypothalamus in your brain. The hypothalamus turns the body’s temperature up and down by taking several factors into account. And one of the factors the hypothalamus considers is how hot (or cold) your actual skin is.

The pulse points of your skin are the parts that have the biggest influence on the workings of your hypothalamus, as the vessels are close to the surface of the skin.

Applying a cold compress to your pulse points ignites a signal to the brain stating that your body is cold. This tricks the hypothalamus into cooling down the rest of the body. To fully benefit, hold a compress on the back of your neck, temples, and wrists. Keeping your feet in a cool bowl of water will also cool your body. 

2) Keep peppermint on your desk

Peppermint not only holds several anti-bacterial properties, but it also provides a cooling effect to your skin.

Peppermint is packed with menthol that delivers a tingling effect to your skin that replicates the feeling of being cold.

Inhaling peppermint can cool your body, however when diluted in water or oil, it can also be directly applied to your skin. To keep cool, apply it to your pulse. If you have sensitive skin, initially apply a small amount as redness can occur due to the ingredients tingling properties.  

3) Shut out the light and close the windows

As tempting as it can be to throw open your windows on a hot day, you should actually keep them closed.

It always amazes me how many people open a window, feel the warm air hit them, and then leave the window open. Opening the windows on a hot day will fill the rooms with hot air and in turn, raise its temperature.

Likewise, if you leave the curtains or blinds open, letting the sun shine through the windows, the room will rise in temperature.

So on a hot day, close your windows and drapes to darken the room. Do, thought, open them up when the temperature outside cools and the sun begins to set. This will let cool air in and encourage the indoor temperature to drop further.

4) Hydrate your system

Drinking water on a hot day may not be ground-breaking advice, but drinking hot water is not widely recognised.

Drinking hot water to cool you down when you are hot seems counterproductive, but it can be really effective. Here’s why.

When you drink a hot drink when your body temperature is high, it raises it even further. This encourages your body to sweat. Ultimately, sweating is a mechanism used by the body to cool it.

If your whole body is covered with clothes, your sweat will get trapped. But if you are wearing clothes that partially cover your skin, your sweat will evaporate, allowing your body to cool. If you are not wearing clothes that will allow sweat to evaporate, then it is wise to opt for a cool drink.

5) Roll out the frozen towels

This is perhaps my favourite trick to cool down if you are working from home in a heatwave – whether you have a fan or not.

Soak a flannel or towel in cool water and wring out the access water. Fold it in half and roll tightly, then place in the freezer for several hours, ideally overnight. This will freeze the inner layers of the towel or flannel, but the outer layer will stay soft.

When the weather is hot, roll out the towel and place around you. Alternatively, you can place the towel over your office chair or on the actual seat as you work. This will cools your body almost immediately. 

Ultimately, you do not necessarily need to invest in expensive fans or cooling tools. You can adopt several cost-effective methods to cool your home working space throughout the heatwave.

Photo by yechan park