Stay warm for less while working from home
Many of us are now wondering if we’ll be back in the office this side of Christmas. Here in Scotland the weather has already turned chilly and the ‘heating season’ has begun. Scots have the longest heating season in the UK and (unsurprisingly) the highest energy bills – so how can we balance working from home and staying warm without it costing the earth? This longer read from the Home Energy Scotland advice team will give you some ideas:
Location, location, location
If possible, locate your desk or workstation somewhere that’s free of draughts and in a bright sunny spot. You might find that being close to a window was great in the summer but is chillier now there’s a nip in the air. Opting for a spot with good natural light will also reduce the need to have the lights on during the day.
Dress for success
After seven months working at home you may have accrued a large collection of elasticated-waist loungewear – the cosier the better, we say! Layering up can help your body insulate heat and regulate temperature so multiple thin layers can be better than one gigantic Sherpa fleece. That said, if you’re not on zoom calls all day no one will know if you’re in your unicorn onesie or not…
Heat is lost most easily through our extremities so get some fluffy socks and slippers (not too tight as this can actually restrict warm air flow). Depending on how practical it is you could also accessorise with a cosy snood or even a hat or fingerless gloves. Disclaimer – if you’re on camera a lot, this could give your colleagues the impression you’ve gone on a skiing holiday… and maybe that’s ok.
Blankets are an obvious cosy choice and draping one on your lap while sitting can keep your legs and feet warm. If you’ve got cold floors (non-carpeted for example) get a good rug to improve your thermal comfort. Curtains and blinds are not just there to look pretty – they reduce heat loss so as the nights draw in remember to close them before the sun goes down, even if that’s before you log off. The other must-have accessory for this season is the hot water bottle – Roisin in our team has two on rotation and swears by them for warming up while working.
Keep the heat in
If you do have draughts getting in, it can be easier than you might think to tackle them. The main culprits are doors and windows, letterboxes and chimneys, as well as lofts and basements. Draughts can make our homes feel a lot colder than they actually are.
Home Energy Scotland can provide tailored advice on how to draught-proof your home at low cost, leaving you feeling comfy and spending less on heating bills to keep warm. If you like to unplug and unwind with some knitting we have a fab pattern for a ‘Doug the Caterpillar’ draught excluder that you can download here.
Are you confident when it comes to setting the controls on your boiler or heaters? We offer completely personalised advice on how to control your heating system (and what to do if you need a new one) so ask an advisor for some tips. By setting the timer and desired temperature your home could feel consistently comfortable throughout the day, rather than blowing hot and cold on you like a high school romance.
If you have heating zones at home remember to set these up so you’re not heating unused areas during the day. If you don’t have zones, trying turning the radiators down to medium or low and leaving internal doors open so that heat can circulate and create an even temperature throughout the property.
Shake it off
Some morning activity to warm your body up is not only good for staying cosy, it’s great for your mood too. Desk yoga, crazy dancing between Teams calls, a run around the garden or a longer walk before work can all get your circulation flowing so your own internal central heating kicks in as well as your gas boiler.
Time for a cuppa?
We’re a nation fuelled by hot drinks even when there isn’t a global pandemic keeping us stuck at home. Getting up regularly from your workstation is good for your physical and mental health and making a cuppa is a great excuse for doing so*. But you can also increase your hot drink quota to include hot orange squash, hot chocolate or even just hot water and stay hydrated without getting chilly. Hardcore hot drink enthusiasts suggest keeping an actual thermos of hot tea at their desk to reduce the number of times they’re boiling the kettle, but we think it’s important to get up and move around too – do what works best for you.
*Don’t boil more than you need though – if the kettle’s going all day this will cost you!
This may get a mixed reaction but try either reducing the time you spend in the shower or cut down by a few showers a week to reduce hot water costs. Reach for the dry shampoo to see you through (you can get some nice non aerosol products as an alternative to sprays) and wash clothes less often too – trying airing them instead to get another wear out of them before putting them in the laundry basket.
Get in touch
If it’s time to think about some new heating, draught proofing or insulation you can get free impartial advice from Home Energy Scotland – we can also help you access financial support for getting the work done. Get in touch today to find out more.