help! my office is sweltering and my coworkers won’t turn up the air conditioning

A reader on the other side of the equator writes:

It’s the middle of summer here, and the weather outside is sweltering. This wouldn’t usually be a problem, except that I am having major air conditioning problems in the office.

We occupy a smaller office building where the air conditioning and heating is controlled by three panels located around the office where you can set the temperature. My problem is that, for whatever reason, my office is always a few degrees hotter than everyone else’s, including the boss’. The standard setting it is on now means that I have a constant sheen of sweat over me while at work and I’m finding it incredibly difficult to concentrate. My argument is that surely it is better for them to be cold, and bring a cardigan or jumper to work, than for me to be sweating.

It’s getting to the point where it is affecting my performance. How do I raise this with my boss? My off-hand remarks to the Office Manager and other people have not been listened to, and are usually countered with a “Really? I’m cool.” A friend suggested I bring a fan into my office, but I thought that might be too passive-aggressive.

I’m the most junior lawyer at my office, and I’ve been here 3 years.

Given how contentious temperature control issues can be, I’m kind of amazed that this the first question I’ve received about them in nearly five years of writing this blog.

I sympathize. I hate, hate, hate being hot, and I agree that it’s easier to warm up when you’re cold than to cool down when you’re hot. However, the majority usually rules on these kinds of issues — and especially so when you have a solution that you haven’t tried yet:  Bring in a fan, the most high-powered one you can find. There’s nothing passive-aggressive or otherwise weird about doing that; it’s sensible.

If the fan isn’t sufficient and you have a window, try a window-mounted air-conditioning unit. That was the only thing that saved me from heatstroke at my last job.

But if that doesn’t solve the problem and your colleagues aren’t willing to compromise, you need to do more than “off-handed remarks.” You need to actually have a serious conversation with whoever controls the temperature and explain that it’s affecting your ability to focus.

P.S. One more thought: Can you ask about switching offices with someone who tends to be colder and would appreciate the sauna-like environs of your office?

{ 106 comments… read them below }

  1. Anonymous

    In my old job I had this same situation. We had a very relaxed work environment so my boss wore short sleeveless dresses to work each day, and she was incredibly thin— thus, in the summer, she would insist that we not turn on the AC and always complained she was cold if we did. We lived in a climate where it was at least 80 every day and during heat waves approached 100. If we asked to turn on the AC (as is polite), she would ask me to open the window instead (window to an alley in the city… not much fresh ventilation by any means). The window was right behind my desk, so on the chance that was actually breezy enough to provide any relief from the heat, this resulted in all of my stuff blowing everywhere. I am so glad I live in New England now…

    1. Heather

      ugh I hate it when people complain of being cold but won’t put a sweater/cardigan on. And opening a window is not the same as using the a/c.

      1. anonymous

        Putting on a cardigan or sweater doesn’t help with frozen hands, though…there are times I can barely type, because my hands are so cold. Fingerless gloves don’t work for me, either; too restrictive for my liking.

        1. Emily

          I had one job where I wore a cardigan AND fingerless gloves and my fingers were still so icy I struggled to type properly.

          1. Suzanne

            I had a horrible cold job, too. One woman in the office was perpetually hot, so no one dared touch the thermostat! She wouldn’t move her desk, either, to a cooler spot in the room. Made work interesting!

            1. Anonymous

              Me three. I was bundled up all year round. They would open the windows in the winter and blast the a/c in the summer. But nothing to do for stiff, icy fingers.

          2. Ali

            Yes, this is my current job. It is so cold I can’t concentrate. Part of it is my own health issues – I’d be cold anywhere – but part is that it’s 68 (or sometimes 66) in the office. My fingers are frozen. I wear fingerless gloves but they don’t help the tips of my fingers. I’ve been known to wear full-fingered gloves, typing be damned. It’s almost impossible to do my job somedays.

            It’s also a health issue with me. I have some major issues that I am on heavy immunosuppressants for, so being in the cold all day is simply not good for me. I get colds and sinus issues from working in this office. But I’m also faculty, so I have unlimited sick time. Sometimes I feel like staying home “sick” just because I can’t stand the thought of working in the cold office.

              1. Anonymous

                These look great! My office has been as low as 57 degrees in the winter time (yes, the heat was on, it’s just cold) and sweaters and foot heater did not help the hands nor did the fingerless gloves. Definitely keeping these in mind.

            1. Rachel

              I’m not trying to be combative or lessen your annoyance, but cold weather cannot make you sick. Your body temperature doesn’t determine if you get a cold – that is an old wives tale. I’m saying that to put your mind at ease about that part of it at least. I’m a hot person and even I think 66 is pretty ridiculous.

              1. Anonymous

                You are misunderstanding the explanation to the wives tale. Yes , it being cold will not cause you to get sick but if it is cold enough for long enough and your body temperature dips below optimal, you can weaken your immune system and catch a cold you otherwise may have fought off.

                1. Jamie

                  ITA – My mom was a nurse and that’s what she always told us. It was her reasoning for ragging us about wearing coats and hats even after we were old enough to argue that colds were viral and not due to weather.

        2. Samantha

          I’m not talking about the a/c being on so cold it’s arctic conditions. I’m talking about it being less warm than outside temperatures – as in room temperature. And if people are still cold then they need to dress properly.

  2. Natalie

    If you rent, consider contacting your building management and see if they can make some adjustments. The vents located in each office can be adjusted to allow less or more air flow. Yours may be set for less airflow, thus your office is hotter. Alternatively, if you own the building your facilities people should be able to do this.

    1. Anne

      This. When my office was moved up to the third floor it was unbearably hot (summer days are regularly in the high 90s around here). I asked management to look into it and eventually maintenance came out and said the air flow to my office was restricted by 98%. They were able to open the vents more and its much more comfortable. (Although I won’t really go into how my bosses made me carry around an infrared thermometer for weeks to empirically prove there were differences in temperatures among the offices…)

        1. khilde

          My coworkers and I did that one time in our offices that were markedly colder than other offices on the floor. We put a thermometer out just to prove that it was that cold. I think we did it to prove to ourselves we weren’t crazy, but to also squash the naysayers who I’m sure thought we were just a bunch of cold, whining women. We weren’t! It was much colder and I think we finally got some of them to believe us. Unfortunately, that floor was just wired poorly and it never did improve. Thankfully we moved to a different building and it’s better. But I identify with the idea of taking the temperature to prove it’s cold! :)

  3. KayDay

    I’ve always had the opposite problem in my workplaces…yes plural, as in multiple office buildings (in the US)–it is way too cold in the summer. While I normally agree that it is easier to put on a sweater than to take an icebath at work…working in a 67 degree office when it’s 95 degrees outside (19 / 35 degrees for the rest of the world) is no fun. I sometimes wear finger-less gloves to keep my hands warm while typing. Both my boss and I keep space heaters in our offices. It’s not passive aggressive; it’s a solution.

    Also, I agree with Natalie: check with building management/maintenance. If the problem is not enough temperature control, the vents in your office might be blocked or something like that.

    1. Anonymous

      That’s my complaint too. It’s a ridiculous waste of energy to keep temperatures indoors that low during the summer. I understand the complaints of people who feel warm, but there’s a big difference between keeping an office cool enough that most people are comfortable and keeping it cool enough so that people can (or rather ‘have to’) continue to wear heavy suit coats. At my last job, even the men (who usually like it cooler than the women) were freezing!

      1. jmkenrick

        Agreed. While I generally understand the OP’s point, it’s worth noting that most offices seem to have the opposite problem. My high school was so overzealous with the ac that we all brought jackets & scarves to school for when we were indoors.

    2. The gold digger

      I used a space heater, too! I also taped the vents shut. I hate having cold air blow on me. The irony of being too cold in Miami in the summer. But who designs an office building that’s all windows IN MIAMI?

      When I was in Chile, I had to wear gloves to type. Which as you know, does not work very well. Finally, I told my co-workers, who found room in the budget for their lunch every day, that I was going home until they bought some gas for the space heater.

  4. That's wrong

    I don’t agree majority rules. It’s always the squeeky wheel gets the grease. A high powered fan is unnecessary noise plus of the is blown at you or someone else that’s an even bigger issue? With the help blowing fan people can get headaches and become ill.. Next suggestion please?

    1. KayDay

      Huh? I have heard of central A/C giving people migraines, but never a basic fan…don’t you think that the other workers would prefer a fan for one person over everyone else (besides the OP) being too cold? It sounds like the OP has his own office…so the noise shouldn’t be too much. We aren’t talking about industrial wind-makers here.

  5. Malissa

    See if you can find a chill pad to sit on. It really helped a menopausal coworker. I stole it from her chair one day when she was gone and the AC decided to die. Best thing ever.

  6. The Right Side

    I keep a fan in my office, too. It is winter here but I’m always warm and try to stay dressing classy in business suits/skirts. But the panty hose, and sometimes wool material can be a little warm. I’d hate to take it off and have pit stains. lol. That would be horrid! I, too, have my own – enclosed office – so the fan doesn’t disturb anyone (doesn’t even bother me – it is a nice low hum). And I often have full-sized drawings on one desk and it doesn’t blow them away. Perfection!

  7. Jaime

    I think asking about switching offices with someone who is often cold is a great solution. Fans are fine, but they don’t always cut it and can be a hassle with blowing paperwork.

    I am the one who is always too hot in my office, but that comes with the territory since I’m most comfortable in the 62-68 range. I can’t even think of wearing a sweater in anything but 65 and below. However, many of my coworkers are ridiculously too cold. Our temps tend to range 70-74. Even at 74, many (10+) of my coworkers will wrap up in blankets or leave their coats on – even while wearing 3 layers of clothes. Now, in the spring, when it’s 74 outside they will wear short-sleeve shirts and shorts. O_o Far be it from me to notice such inconsistencies, lol. I would never want my coworkers to be so uncomfortable and I realize I am ridiculously too warm … 71-72 seems like a good compromise between comfort and not spending huge amounts of money to cool an office way too low.

    1. Anonymous

      It isn’t an inconsistency for your body to adjust. If you are outdoors a lot your body will adjust pretty well to the seasonal weather. In the fall I want a jacket at 70 degrees even because I’ve been out working out in the hot 80-100 deg weather so that’s what my body has aclimated to. But in the spring when I’ve been outside skiing all year I’m thrilled to wear a skirt with bare legs at 40 deg because my body is used to the freezing weather (well most winters, this winter, we shall not speak of). So it isn’t that your coworkers are being inconsistent. They are having their bodies adjust to the seasons around them.

      1. Jaime

        Sure, I suppose that could be it. I don’t think it is though. We don’t work outside and I can count on 1 hand the number of people in my department who are outdoorsy enough to experience what you’re talking about. One of my bestfriends, for whom this definitely doesn’t apply, is one who needs a blanket in the office.

        My sister, however, she is cold all the time. In the summer, she doesn’t need to use the a/c (in Kansas) because she isn’t bothered by the heat so much. The rest of us will be sweating because my parent’s a/c isn’t cutting the humidity well enough and she’ll be huddling under a fleece blanket. With her, it is just the way her body works. Or my mom knows a woman whose husband worked outside all the time and wouldn’t let her use the a/c at home because it was too hard on his body to adjust.

        It is extremely unlikely this is the case with most of my coworkers.

        1. jmkenrick

          I’ve heard (although I’ve no idea if it’s true) that your internal temperatures and metabolism are related, with slow metabolisms being correlated with always being cool, and visa-versa.

          1. Jaime

            lol, maybe so but I’m like a blazing furnace – and about as wide as one too. ;)

            I tend to joke that it’s all my insulation and I do feel that I would be a little less hot if I reduced my fat content. I know it wouldn’t work entirely since my Mom and Grandma are not big and they stay warm too. However, I also know plenty of other fat people who stay chilled. *shrug* It’s a crapshoot I think.

        2. KellyK

          I tend to be much more sensitive to cold indoors. Like your coworkers, I don’t think I spend enough time outside that I’m adjusting, so I have no idea what causes it. But I will be uncomfortably cold in a room that’s under 70 and walking around in short sleeves happily in 60 degree weather.

          Maybe my skin responds differently to sunlight than to artificial light, so I feel warmer even though the temperature is the same? Maybe its purely psychological based on what I expect indoor and outdoor temperatures to be? Maybe it’s because if I’m outside, I’m usually walking around rather than just sitting? No idea. But it’s not just your coworkers.

        3. just another hiring manager...

          I think it is because 75 degree of AC feels very different from 75 degree of heat. But, I have a space heater and a fan in my personal office to keep me at the just right temp ;-)

          1. KellyK

            That might be it. You know, come to think of it, AC has a dehumidifying effect, and dryer air feels cooler (partly becuase sweat evaporates faster, I believe).

      2. Jaime

        I would say that there are odd days here and there, where your body temp feels different. There are days when I’m cold when everyone else is or comfortable even in hotter temps – but it’s irregular. I am not talking about that, I’m talking about people in the summer, winter, fall and spring covering themselves in blankets if the office a/c falls 74 and below even though it’s the same temp outside and they wear shorts and/or tshirts out there.

  8. Anonymous

    Switching offices with someone is the ideal course. Have you thought of wearing lighter clothing?

    1. S

      That’s not always possible–some people don’t wear “less” clothing due to religious reasons.

      I’m one of those who has to be in AC, no matter what. Wintertime is easy (except for rain/snow of course), but what I hated was that when it was super hot and everyone in the office felt hot….there’d always be that one whiny girl who dressed skimpily, asking for us to turn off the AC. That was pretty annoying.

  9. ThomasT

    Fans can work, but can also be a pain if you work with a lot of paper. If it gets to the point of needing to discuss it more, it might also help to actually take the temperature of your office to be able to demonstrate quantitatively how much warmer your office is than the thermostat setting.

    I had office management duties in my job description for a while, and mediating this stuff is not fun, especially when you have limited recourse. Our previous President, a delightful woman and amazing leader, of course occupied the corner office with many original Art Deco-era single-pane windows, which didn’t help her very slender frame stay warm in the winter. We had to have people take turns with space heaters because too many at once tripped circuit breakers. So – state your concern clearly, but try not to whine (it doesn’t sound like the OP would, from her letter), and understand that their are competing concerns and possibly limitations on what can be accomplished.

  10. KDD

    We’re having serious heat issues in my office right now. The building is old and, while we have our own thermostats, I’m sure they’re only for show. For two weeks I was sweltering (in the middle of winter) and stripped down as far as I dared. I literally resorted to sitting on an ice pack – best thing ever! While not a long term solution it definitely helped me to get through the day.

  11. JD

    Get them to buy you a fan if they won’t turn on the AC. You shouldn’t have to purchase that on your own. Can’t hurt to ask. We have fans and space heaters all over our open office for the extreme temps our drafty loft building produces.

    1. Anonymous

      If any company has to pay for fans for those who feel too warm, then they better pay for sweaters too!

      1. Long Time Admin

        Not sweaters, heaters. My company provides panel heaters, which are much safer than regular space heaters. They also have fans, but I had an extra one at home so I use my own.

  12. JB

    I have the opposite problem…I’m always cold. We work in a U shaped building. The one side of our floor faces west so it is very warm on that side of the building in the afternoon, but my side of our floor faces the other side of the building and even though I have a window, it never gets sunlight.

    We can’t please everyone since it is a cube farm here.
    In the summer I stuff the vent above my desk so the A/C doesn’t blow on me or I’ll open my window to let some warm air in. I also have a space heater I have to use all year.

    I’ll tell you…I’m perfectly fine outside on a 72 degree day, but when our office thermostat says 72, it’s only 65 at my desk.

    What is funny, is the guys that are “always too hot” are the ones that chose to sit on that side so they’d have a nice view…but it’s that afternoon sun view that makes it so hot…if they closed the blinds it would help a lot.

    1. Meaghan

      Since you’re in a cube, it probably doesn’t apply, but the woman in the office beside mine plugs her vent and as a result, the EXTRA cold air blows into my office, making it even colder than the rest of our already cold building! My fingernails turn blue after a few hours at work. It’s awful.

  13. H

    I’m having the opposite problem at the moment – I get terribly, paralysingly cold at my desk while wearing three sweaters, fingerless gloves, and a scarf, while my colleagues sit in shirt sleeves, open the windows while it’s frosty outside, and look put out when I ask them maybe not to. I had a heater under my desk for a while – which I would feel guilty about putting on, because it would heat up the whole room, and I don’t want to make people too hot if they’re genuinely warm enough – although this has mysteriously disappeared in an office move…

  14. Sarah Fowler

    I feel your pain. I once worked in an office in a metal building where I had the unshaded front corner office– in Florida in the summer. The temperature inside my office was over 85 degrees by midday! I literally began showering three times a day (even going home at lunch to shower and change clothes) because I sweated so much coworkers (politely) mentioned it.
    My manager’s office had its own a/c unit(!) but the a/c for the rest of the building effectively did nothing. I brought in a fan that wasn’t much help and thankfully I no longer work there.
    (The tip others have given about asking maintenance to check office air flow is a good one; I’ve had that be very helpful in subsequent jobs.)

  15. Bonnie

    I truly believe the office temperature battle can never be won. During one of our moves, we realized that the cube farm would actually have two thermostat controls. We made the decision to keep one higher than the other. We give the staff a map of the area and told them where the temperature zones would be. They still chose their desks based on criteria other than temperature. From that point on we refuse to have a discussion with any employee who knew the score and chose a desk in the wrong temperature zone.

  16. Anonymous

    We had the too cold issue at a previous job.. the temp control worked… but we couldn’t turn it up because it also controlled the A/C in th CEOs office… which was a sundrenched corner and always too warm!

  17. JL

    I personally am one of those people who HATE being cold, and is adamant about keeping a fairly warm temperature. This isn’t because I like torturing my coworkers, but because I have RA and hypothyroidism, and I do have an increased sensitivity to temperature. And as a side note, I’m not old, so most people would not guess that I have those conditions. So I would caution against anybody assuming that it’s just “easier” or that your co-workers are just being difficult when they don’t want to turn the A/C up.

    1. fposte

      You don’t have to answer as it’s not my business, but as a person with no thyroid at all any more, I’m curious–you don’t take synthetic thyroid hormone?

      1. KellyK

        As another person with hypothyroid, taking synthetic thyroid hormone helps a ton with the “always cold” issue, but I think I still tend to run colder than the average person.

        1. fposte

          Interesting. I was hyper before the ablation and I think I’ve been left with an increased sensitivity to heat. But it could just be that being hot sucks :-).

    2. Banana

      You werid I have hypothyroid too
      I now feel so hot in summer time .
      I tell why people put aircon because the don’t went house or work place to be stuffy and dusty .
      If you go to Singapore or other asia summer weather all tear round the aircon is 65 .
      You should expect to bring a sweater .
      For house I’m staying aircon 80f (65 n humid) but now it off

  18. Kelly O

    Our CEO is the one always fiddling around with the thermostat.

    Our problem is the thermostat on the unit itself is all messed up half the time, so it might say 68 degrees and we’re all sweating. He will say “but the thermostat says 68 and I’m cold.” Someone finally broke down and bought a small indoor thermometer to put next to the thermostat so we can say “see – it is really 76 in here, can we please not turn it up?”

    Not that it always works, mind you. I have a fan that pretty much runs all the time. (I am normally hot all the time though, and I realize I’m the odd one out. But it really is unpleasant most of the time.)

  19. Emily

    I have both a space heater and a fan at my desk, provided by the company, because I sit really far from the heating/cooling vents (they’re all inside offices and I sit in the general area outside of the offices) so my desk is never a comfortable temperature. Totally common and reasonable to do a little micro-climate-control at work.

  20. Mario

    I really think that those things should be defined by law. Say, offices should be at a temperature range of 20-24oC and that is it! This way there is no power issues of some group of people trying to control the office temperature. I HATE hot places, and there is nothing I can do when it is too hot.

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      I just looked up whether OSHA does regulate this. They don’t require that employers maintain a particular temperature, but they recommend 68-76 degrees. According to a 2003 OSHA interpretation letter, “office temperature and humidity conditions are generally a matter of human comfort rather than hazards that could cause death or serious physical harm. OSHA cannot cite the General Duty Clause for personal discomfort.”

      I also saw a study by Cornell University that found that 77 degrees is the optimum temperature for productivity. It says: “At 77 degrees Fahrenheit, the workers were keyboarding 100 percent of the time with a 10 percent error rate, but at 68 degrees, their keying rate went down to 54 percent of the time with a 25 percent error rate. Temperature is certainly a key variable that can impact performance.”

      1. Natalie

        77! That would be perfect.

        My company (we’re property management) uses the ASHRAE standards, which I think are 68-73.

      2. Joey

        I see companies jumping on the green bandwagon and going colder in the winter (68 or so) and warmer in the summer (about 78).

  21. TrixMix

    There are even portable A/C units that do not have to be window-mounted; Costco has one. They have a flexible tube and although you still have to vent them somehow, if your windows open, it’s a particularly good option. Though I suppose you could also vent the tube into the hallway!

      1. Jamie

        I read somewhere that Google heats a good percentage of their offices with the hot air vented from their servers.

        My office is always on the warm side because I have a data center in here – where another office is always a little chilly because it was an addition so it’s vented differently. We always joke about running a dryer hose from my server cabinet to their office to even things out.

  22. Becki

    I don’t remember them precisely but there are temperature guidelines given by ASHRAE in the range of 68-72 degrees in the winter and 70-74 degrees in the summer. A lot of the problem with temperature is that it depends heavily on air flow. Often, a person sitting near a ceiling diffuser will feel cold because of the “breeze” even if the air blowing on them is warm. Keep in mind that with most modern HVAC systems, opening a window only makes the situation worse unless the window is isolated from all thermostats and temperature sensors. It is also inefficient from an energy standpoint to have different thermostat settings within a building. I was unwillingly put in charge of the thermostats in a previous job because there was a 8 degree difference in temperature settings in different areas of the building and the utility bills increased as a result.

  23. Cassie

    Most of us have heaters – it’s frequently freezing inside our building. If you talk to someone from Facilities about it, they tell you to wear a jacket. Hence, the space heaters.

    I believe there used to be both hot and cold air circulating (to create an “optimal” temp) but with the budget cuts, someone higher up said “wait, why are we using the heat in the summer?” and so now only the cold air circulates in the summer. This makes the building too cold. The opposite sometimes happens in the winter (it gets too hot) – though I think they generally leave the temp low because people can just use space heaters to warm up.

    At my sis’s gov’t job, they can’t use heaters. I think they can bring their own fans, though.

  24. Jaime

    My Dad works at a refinery and he had to go into a furnace (shut down) with an inspector to check off a repair they’d made. I don’t know how long they’d been in there, but my Dad’s iPhone came on and warned him that the temperature was too hot for operation and to move it to a cooler area. O_O

  25. Ellen

    The office I started working in a month ago has recently been incredibly hot. On the other side, people open their windows, but on my side the closed offices/open space is set up so there isn’t an open window. Which is fine, because I hate drafts and would rather be slightly warm than too cold. (I’m very sensitive to temperature and am almost always overheated or too cold, but that’s a different story.) However what I’m really sick of is people talking about the temperature. I know it’s hot. It was hot yesterday. It will be hot until it gets warmer outside and the heat goes off in the building. Stop COMMENTING on it! I don’t have anything to say in response! Argh.

    1. Jamie

      This. It’s hot, it’s cold, it’s raining, it’s snowing, it’s sunny…oh you just came back from lunch, is it nice outside?

      It’s weather. Unless it’s severe enough that we’re deciding whether or not to close the office early because of snow conditions, aren’t there more interesting things to talk about.

      1. Sasha LeTour

        I find weather is a good thing to talk about with co-workers I don’t care for very much. It is neutral and pleasantly passes the full five minutes of the interaction so we can both get on our way without offense.

  26. Melting Admin

    Our office is like a sauna, there are three radiators plus a portable heater on permanently, if I dare to turn the heating down then it is turned up straight away, even though the heating is turned up to 30, it normally hits around 24.5 degrees c. There is one person who thinks that they can control the temperature and even though it is boiling and I am sat there in a short sleeved blouse they are freezing. It is so hot I cannot concentrate, but I cannot open the window because I do have consideration for the other people sat in the office, unlike some people, who have to have the temperature set to the highest possible temperature even though they have just asked me if I am cold??? I will definately get the fan out tomorrow, I just don’t see why I should have to though, and have extra noise and paperwork blowing everywhere.

    p.s this blog looks very interesting and I will bookmark it to read regularly.

  27. mandy

    Hi
    I have just had no choice but to leave a temp job due to the temp in the office. The other 4 people in the office were all obese and so wanted really cold air. I wore wolly caridi gloves scarfs and blanket over my knees. Wolly sokcs and ugg boots . I still ended up with aches and pains and feeling exhausted from the effort of my body trying to stay warm.

    When I complained to my Boss and Hr I was told that was what the majority of people wanted
    Basically I was discriminated against because I am a normal healty weight

    1. Meg

      This sounds like the temp job I am at – except there is only one extremely obese woman in the office who thinks she should have total control over the AC. The other 20 people in the building have to run space heaters all day. I am at work right now, and huddled next to a space heater.
      I don’t think it is fair that just because someone decided to eat their way into obesity, that the rest of us should suffer.

  28. LAROSE101

    LUCKY YOU FOR BEING COOL! I LIVE IN THE DEEP SOUTH AND IT IS OVER 100 AND MY OFC IS OLD WITH ALMOST 0 AIR. EVERYONE IS HOT BUT THE BOSS AND HIS OFC HAS THE AIR AND THERMOSTAT IS LOCATED SO HE IS FREEZING. THE REST OF THE OFC IS OLD AND THE VENTILATION IS BAD. SOME OF THE VENTS BLOW OUT BLACK CRAP (WE HAVE HAD 3 HURRICANES SINCE THEN AND I THINK ITS MOLD BECAUSE WE ARE ALL SICK WITH SINUS) AND I HAVE FANS BLOWING BUT THAT JUST STIRS DUST. THIS OFC CANNOT GET ANY WORSE. I WISH I COULD WORK IN AN OFC WHERE IT IS 68.

  29. potato

    In my office, it’s currently 75 or so…..I’m sweating my butt off and the woman next to me insists on running a space heater all summer…..she’s sitting barefoot over there too! How rude!

  30. anysia

    same issues here…. we had ww3 over the temp about 6 years ago and then settled on a temp that was cool enough to keep those of us who run warmer from breaking a sweat (with the help of fans) and yet warm enough that the chornically cold ones were able to use a space heater and stay warm enough to function.

    suddenly, two days ago, it all broke out again. they moved our office around last fall and introduced some who were used to sitting in the sauna environment upstairs into the “basement”. apparently the temps that were the end result of the fallout years ago are no longer kosher with those people and so the old chronically cold batch has come back and jumped on the new couple of people’s bandwagon and keep bumping the temp up 5 degrees. No small changes for them, they’re going all out.

    i have acknowledged that i’m on the extreme end of the heat/cold battle (keeping my house no higher than 70 in the summer and no higher than 65 all winter, and overnight year round in the 62/63 range). i was still over warm and usually have my fan on for 50%-75% of the day at the amicable temp that had been deicded on. but it was where the effects of the temp were minimalized on everyone and so i dealt with it, continuing to wear sandals to work until there is snow on the ground, wearing nearly sleeveless shirts year round, etc. i also turn the temp up in the car in the morning to begin adjusting from my home temp to the office temp. i’ve suggested others do the same (by turning their temp down in the car) and they refuse.

    but this sudden 5 degree jump has reopened the war zone. (it had been holding at 72 year round, btw…… the cold ones have pushed for it to be turned up to 80 at times!) i don’t funciton well when i’m hot and sticking to my desk. my mind gets cloudy and my productivity goes down, i feel semi comatose, my arms start sticking to my desk, etc. many of the ones complaining about it being too cold are wearing skirts and capri pants and sandals still. a couple of them are borderline anorexic to top it off…..

    i really like the solution above where someone had suggested creating known zones and allowing people to pick desks accordingly. i’m already back in a dark corner in the “basement”, with no windows (cubicles), and never any direct sunlight, which in theory should be one of the coolest spots….

  31. Freezing

    I just started a new job and I am absolutely freezing. I t is in the low 70′ s outside and the A/C is on full blast in this open plan office. I am really hating the fact that even though it is pleasant outside
    I have to sit in the office wearing 3 sweaters plus a thick mohair cardigan over my legs! I am so miserable and can’t do my work properly but no one else seems to be suffering! I have mentined it casually to others but I am reluctant to take it further at this early stage in the job, don’t want to step on people’s toes ! In the mean time I am going to get a space heater.

    1. liz

      you might want to wear that thick mohair cardigan when you have the space heater to keep your legs from getting cold,the cardigan will keep you warmer if you are wearing it so your not sitting there freezing to death.

  32. Anonymous

    3 of us in this small office are too hot but the boss man is running his space heater full blast. I can’t concentrate its so hot. Help!

  33. Sweaty in Florida

    I have a coworker who thinks she owns the company, which is a family business and she only has a little bit of stock which daddy gifted to her. well she likes to keep the office at 80 and there is only 3 other people in the office. All of us like is cooler but her. So she is always calling daddy when she doesnt get her way. But no one wants to deal with her whinning to daddy except me. This is what I have to say. You can always put on clothes when you are cold. You cannot take off your clothes and be naked to get cooled. So for all the whinny people that are cold. Bring a jacket .

  34. Kathleen

    Brrrr! “We” turn the heat down to 49 degrees at night (no, that is NOT a typo), and we get a whopping 67 degrees for work during the day, although it takes well over an hour for my work area to start getting close to that temperature. So, I plug in my space heater and blow on my hands and rub them together to keep the blood circulating enough to do typing and calculating. I lose too much dexterity with gloves, but I generally wear four shirts to work–tank, long-sleeve shirt, sweater and blazer–just to maintain some comfort. My experience has been that the men want the temperature about 5-10 degrees lower than the women. Men tend to retain heat better, but most of the bosses won’t take their jackets off, and most of them are moderately to more-than-moderately overweight. Due to the nature of our work, we women don’t move around a lot, so we don’t get our blood pumping either. There isn’t a desk that doesn’t have a sweater hanging on the chair and a space heater underneath–but my boss asked me this week to contact our electric company to see why the bill is so high. He didn’t like the answer they gave me (which I already knew), so I overheard him talking to another co-worker, comparing me to a housewife that is complacent about letting her husband pay the bill. (I am widowed and pay my OWN bill at home.) I need a new job for oh, so many reasons!

  35. Sandy

    I work in a second floor office in an interior room with no windows. The owner refuses to turn on the central air because she opens the windows in the other offices and they have fans which makes their offices quite pleasant. My office yesterday was close to 90 degrees all day with no sufficient air flow. I have a small desk fan which I ran but came home sick from the heat and with a headache. I am still sick today. What worries me is we will have temperatures hotter all summer. I am 60 years old and I don’t need additional health issues because of the heat stress. When I asked if she would turn on the central air, I was told she would ask how comfortable the rest in the office were. Well, since they have windows open and fans blowing, needless to say the air wasn’t turned on and I worked in my own little sweat shop. What can I do about this?

  36. Anonymous

    My problem is there is a woman in my office who never asks anyone, when she messes with the aircon and the guys in the office just putup with it. Today I set the aircon just right not too cold, just nice and changed the vent to go straight down so as not to blow directly on anyone. However, this woman comes back in the office (beaing in mind she spends more time out than in) does a drama show with shakes and saying it’s really cold in here “I’m freezing” turns the aircon down completely puts a cardigan on and then goes and sits down at her desk where she then proceeds to put her fan on at full speed :-S Now there’s a control freak for you.

    1. Anon for this one

      I have two such control freaks in my office. Both are absolutely obsessed with my fan. The moment they hear that I turn it on (despite it being positioned so its nowhere near them), the claim they are instantly freezing and gripe endlessly.

      The office is between 78 and 80 degrees and they still claim it is freezing. I cannot wear any less clothing and remain professional. One of my two co-workers, however, wants to be able to wear dresses that leave her cleavage hanging out and open-toed shoes. I cannot dress this way as I am a manager.

      The other issue is both women are hypothyroid to an extreme (it is not normal to perceive 80 degrees as if it’s 50) admit this, yet, will not get their levels checked or their Synthroid adjusted. Instead, they direct hostility to me.

      Hopefully, if this fight continues, I can just get an office with a guy. Since men can’t show up to work in a sundress – and my position requires me to at least wear a jacket and appropriate shirt – men and I both tend to prefer cold offices.

  37. Anonymous

    Id love to work in a/c. Buy a fan maybe. I work outside so I don’t get the benefit of a/c. My a/c is sweat and a breeze!! I love when people complain about the heat when there inside . My jobs demands more work on hotter days.

  38. Banana

    For me when I was in Singapore I was always cold in air con and
    And US 2003 -2008 as well as drink ice drink.
    2008 I had low thyroid and now drink hot drink in morning and evening . Cold drink when I done at work at roses
    Cold workers also complain about cold .

  39. Banana

    I type in error
    Co workers also complain that it too cold at roses .
    One of them already long Sleeves .
    Hot drink that I drink
    Coffee
    Tea
    Hot chocolate
    Hot water

  40. Banana

    I advise they should get fan in work place .
    A fan help to circulation the air con (70-75F ) or 80F as well to keep the dust off
    Dust in work place can make you sick if no vent or no window

  41. Banana

    1st all
    Turn on aircon before the coworkers comes
    Put on fan in you room help to cool down your office or ask coworker to step into office

  42. Jayson

    People are stupid.. why not just keep it at the same damn room temperature and let the A/C unit keep it at that level all year long.. stupid bosses lose good employees because they are selfish and short sighted.. etc..

  43. CW

    We’re now in December…temps outside in the 40’s, but in my building, 82 degrees! I’ve called building maintenance for well over a month about this issue. They replaced all our thermostats and yet, here is is, STILL OVER 80. Yes, I am a middle-aged woman who could lose a few pounds, but 82 degrees? One girl thinks this is great, of course. I’m wearing summer clothes and have a fan going, but we don’t have windows we can open and I’m stuck near all these computers too! OSHA should have some kind of rule about regulating temps in offices. I’d be HAPPY if it were as high as 76 degrees. That is a reasonable temp. Oh, and NOT to mention how much it must be costing this government enterprise to keep a building heated at 82 over the thanksgiving weekend when nobody was even in the building!

    1. miserable in a law office

      I am experiencing the very same thing. I also have to indoor the large Konica Minolta bizhub copier heat, the heat from the computers and the restaurant style halogens that her ex husband put up. The office has double paned windows and there’s no fresh air flow. It’s 80 degrees most days, and debilitating as hell. I too and middle-aged and am very well aware of how few jobs there are out there for people our age. I agree OSHA should set some rules.

  44. miserable in a law office

    I work in hell. I work in the boss’s home, and she keeps it sweltering. I go to work in a t-shirt most days, and the window status closed and the heat is on even in August during a heatwave. I suffer from fibromyalgia, and sometimes I get so hot I get nauseous. I’ve gotten to the point where I am going to have to start looking for another job, because my boss just doesn’t care. She claims to be cold all the time. I did the research, she doesn’t fit any of the parameters for the constant cold feeling. It’s simply self indulgence and a power trip. There are only so many pieces of clothing one can remove before they are naked, and she has all kind of things that could help her be warmer, including a very lightweight heated vest, but she refuses to wear them. Today was so bad that I am completely depressed and filled with anxiety about what tomorrow will bring.

  45. Rose

    I work in a doctors office as a phone nurse temp in room has been running 80 to 88 degrees in the winter it’s so hot from the heater blowing by end of day I have a headache I took paper gowns and stuffed them around ceiling vent to stop the heat from blowing on me now my boss has took picture of vent and sent it to corporate office she said its a fire hazard central unit is electric and their are other vents open nearby I read that paper is not combustible to start a fire unless temp is 450 no central unit blows that Hot

  46. MrScissors

    The comment I use to bring it all into perspective is this: If you’re a little cold, bring some extra clothes to take care of it. But if we go the other way, you’ll be watching me work in my underwear…Get my drift? lol

    I had a situation where the girls are as thin as a rail and wearing a thin sun-dress complaining that it’s too cold. Meanwhile, I’m wearing a suit, tie, t-shirt underneath, …I say give us a Fing break. Bring a coat! (Because that’s basically what I’m forced to wear.)

    So we have “thermo wars.” I’m sweltering – so go over to check: Yep, one of them is using the thermostat as their own personal heater – while the rest of us suffer. So it’s this passive aggressive game we play here of turning up then turning down. This happens all day. So one girl who is positioned next to the thermostat or her companion have a strategic advantage over the whole office of 50 people.

    I’m going to raise it to level two and start taping messages above the heater.

  47. freezing at work

    we just got a new asshole landlord at the office building where i work. he claims the heaters are running up the light bill so now we can’t have them. i have never worked anywhere where we couldn’t have space heaters because of the light bill. if he can’t afford the light bill, maybe he shouldn’t be owning office space. it’s funny how the previous owner had no problem with us using heaters but here comes this jack ass driving his mercedes and acting like a couple of heaters being used is going to break the bank. i will wear a sweater and keep my window open and i dare him to complain about the window. next he is going to tell us we can’t use the microwave, the refridgerator or the toaster oven because it runs up the light bill.

  48. Pigbitin Mad

    There must be something wrong with people if they think 80 degrees is HOT. (We are not talking about tropical 98 degrees and humid…we are talking about these idiots who, when the temperature outside rises above 50 F have to turn on the AC and they are screaming and crying that THEY are hot and that there is something wrong with anyone who does not agree with them).

    However, they cannot accept that they have thrown their systems completely out of whack and that is the reason that those of us who are literally freezing to death expected to just suck it up when in fact it is nowhere near as unpleasant to be slightly warm than it is to be a frozen icicle and yes I keep sweaters at work. It’s my hands and feet that feel like they have been soaking in a bucket of ice water after being at the mercy of these selfish peasants. It is a disease and the rest of the world who lives in a similar climate (ie. Western Europe) would agree .

    But that’s just the way it is in America. I am really coming to think our democracy is a bad system because the majority always rules and the majority are morons. Thus they feel they have the right to be as wasteful as they want and F everyone else who tries to tell them that they are just selfish and entitled pigs (this also goes for people who drive gigantic SUVs and call it their “right” and a “blessed way of life.”)

    I am so glad I will probably not live long enough to see the $#!T really hit the fan in about 40 years.

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