Summer is here! Working from home can be challenging when the temperature outside goes up which in turn drives our motivation to go down. We asked our Village how they all keep cool while working during the summer without spending tons on air conditioning– if you have that luxury. Science has shown that staying cool helps our brains function better. Our concentration goes towards focusing on cooling down our bodies. Lose a few degrees of heat, gain better productivity!
We know that staying hydrated is best for our bodies. Our bodies are more than 60% water which means when we get overheated and sweat, we naturally lose those fluids. Consuming enough water is truly key in so many areas in our life and we will say it’s the most crucial to staying cool. If you don’t necessarily enjoy the taste of water, add some lemon slices to it to make it a bit more appetizing and fancy.
Make sure you place your fan where you can pull air from cooler rooms. A tip our Villager Sonia said they’ve tried is putting ice water behind a fan. This is especially helpful if you don’t have an air conditioner. If you have ceiling fans, make sure they are rotating counter clockwise in the summer. This is because the rotation will drive warm air out to the walls, and the cool air, which pools on the floor, will rise up.
If you have the flexibility to make your own schedule, try switching to a cooler time in the day. Our producer Elizabeth said, “I choose to work in the middle of the night. It’s much cooler in my 2nd floor non air conditioned office during overnight hours!” Maybe you’re a night owl like she is that works best during the evening time. That would help you stay cooler than, say working at 2 PM when the sun is the strongest. You can also mimic the time of day by investing in blackout curtains or a reflective window film like our producer Maartje suggests. “I don’t have air conditioning or a ceiling fan because it doesn’t generally get that hot where I live.” Blackout curtains work against UV rays and natural light and create an ideal cooler environment for the room.
The ability to see yourself during a meeting can be very distracting since we do not ever see ourselves during in-person meetings. Several platforms give you the option to hide your self-view. We suggest switching to that or turning your video off when allowed by the meeting organizer. If the platform doesn’t have that option or if your employer has a strict “video must be on” rule, try putting a sticky note over your face. Another great tip is to reduce the size of the Zoom screen so faces aren’t so large. Simply minimize the Zoom window, and place it up in a corner of your screen (close to the camera if possible). This reduces the amount of virtual eye-to-eye contact which will better mimic how you interact in a face-to-face meeting. Continuous direct eye contact is a very stressful thing for humans but it’s hard to avoid during video meetings. You can still periodically look at each face, but they aren’t all taking up your entire screen at all times.
One of our favorite summer investments are portable air coolers. They don’t consume as much electricity (money back in your pocket!) and you can control the airflow from wherever you are. Another positive to portable air coolers is that you can move them easily if you decide to work from another room.
A fellow Villager also gave us a great effective and environmentally friendly way to keep the temperature down in your house: plants! While many of us use them for aesthetic reasons, they serve more than one purpose. The reason plants cool your home is because during their transpiration, they lose water. This naturally cools the air around the plants and we reap the benefits. Snake Plants, Aloe Vera, Golden Pothos, and Areca Palm Trees are among our favorites.
No matter where you live or what climate you are surrounded by, your body and mind will thank you for using these tips in your daily life. Staying comfortable while you get the job done will set you up for success.