I'm sitting at my desk writing this post in November. It's been a pretty mild autumn so far, but the last couple of days have been cold. Today, my office room went down to 14 Celsius, but I refuse to put the heating on!
I'm trying to get myself acclimatised to colder temperatures. As I type this post, I'm wearing a down-filled gilet, which keeps my body toasty warm. But, despite my body being warm, my hands never seem to warm up fully. When they're cold, they don't work so well, and I keep making annoying typos.
So in today's post I am going to take us through all the things that we can do to keep our hands warm while working at the keyboard, without having to wear gloves. It's pretty hard to type well with gloves on unless they are fingerless.
If you have no time to read, and just want to know now, here are my biggest tips:
To keep your hands warm, begin by wearing a good thermal base layer. Keep moving as much as you can. For extra warmth, switch your mouse and your mouse mat for heated versions and keep a hot drink nearby.
Read on for much more.
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Why do our hands get so cold?
I was very interested in knowing why my hands and feet get so cold, even though my body is warm.
It turns out that it's all about survival.
Your body must keep your vital organs warm to stay healthy. Your body naturally does this in preference for keeping extremities warm, such as hands and feet.
The problem, of course, is that if we have cold hands, they get feeble and don't work so well. I find typing much harder when my hands are cold. It can be very frustrating when I keep making mistakes at the keyboard.
8 tips on how to keep your hands warm at work
Trying to keep my hands warm while typing at my computer and using my mouse is a challenge for me. My hands and feet are so often cold. I actually have to wear thick wool socks in bed because if I don't my feet actually hurt! Maybe it is bad circulation, I don't know.
Now heating bills are so expensive, I'm determined to keep the thermostat as low as I can this winter.
So, what follows are all my tips for keeping your hands warm at work without having to turn up the heating, whether you are working in a communal office or at home.
Tip 1 - Keep the rest of your body warm
If you can keep your torso warm, it will help keep your hands and feet warmer too. Today I'm wearing a full thermal base layer. Over that, I have a polo (turtle) neck sweater, and then a thick fleece on top.
Sometimes I wear a down-filled gilet, which feels gorgeously warm. But adding too much clothing tends to get a bit uncomfortable. My plan for when the temperature really starts to plummet, is to swap the down-filled gilet with this heated vest.
Here are my best tips for dressing warmly at your desk:
- Wear a full thermal base layer from your ankles up to your neck.
- Follow with second top and bottom layer.
- Stop the heat escaping from your head by wearing a hat.
- Keep your feet warm with a hot water bottle under your desk.
Tip 2 - Keep your hands moving as much as possible
Keep your fingers moving to stay warm! My mouse hand is always the coldest because it's less active than the other hand. Plus, my wrist is resting on a cold glass desk.
I have a huge mouse mat now that covers most of the desk. It makes a big difference, and now my hands don't get so cold.
Recently, I found this heated mouse mat, which I now wish I had bought instead.
Tip 3 - Keep a warm drink nearby
I love to have a cup of warm coffee to hand, but I hate to waste it when I don't get time to drink it. The phone rings, or I have emails to answer, and then I forget to take a slurp.
Here's the solution. Plug in one of these USB heated coasters, and your favorite drink will stay warm for hours.
Tip 4 - Move your desk to a cozier spot
If you are working from home, move your desk nearer to a heat source such as a radiator or air vent, and away from drafts.
I have loads of tips in this post on how to decrease your heating bill. One of the things that made a big difference to our bills is adding more insulation. We now have thicker insulation in the loft, and it has made the house warmer and less drafty.
If your house is on two levels, it is generally going to be warmer upstairs, as the heat rises. I like to work upstairs in the winter, and then I move downstairs for the summer where it is cooler.
Tip 5 - Take regular breaks
I love to pop out at lunchtime and walk my dog. When I get home, the house seems so much warmer than before. When I sit back down to work, I don't feel cold at all.
It's very good for your health to take regular breaks when you work at a desk all day, and it will keep you warmer too.
Here are some ideas for keeping moving while you work:
- Set a timer on your computer. Windows 11 now has a focus button (bottom right) which I now use to time me before taking the next break. There are also some dedicated apps. I found this one really good - Stretchly
- Consider switching to a standing desk and keep your legs moving as much as possible.
- Cycle while you work. I saw some mini stationary bikes on TV recently which look excellent for keeping you moving at your desk.
- Try a wobble cushion. These cushions, force you to continuously correct yourself to stay balanced, so it keeps you moving without realising it. However, I did find it made me a bit sweaty down there! Sorry if that is TMI. If that isn't a concern for you, go for it, they are great.
- I love Yoga. I always warm up when I do it. If Yoga is new for you, I recommend popping over to the Yoga With Adriene Youtube channel. She even has a video you can do in your office breaks. Check it out here:
Tip 6 - Switch to a heated mouse
I think this is a great idea. It makes perfect sense to heat your mouse as it's something we are holding most of the time whilst working. So, why not make it more comfortable to use?
Tip 7 - Pull on some heated fingerless gloves
When we get cold, it's our extremities that feel it the most. I find my hand coordination goes out of wack when my hands are cold, and I just can't type as fast.
These USB heated gloves are the answer.
I plug them into the USB port on my computer and my hands are toasty warm.
For me, these USB heated gloves are a godsend. They heat up almost immediately. I found I needed to keep them plugged in because they cool down quite quickly. It was a bit odd typing with them on at first, but I got used to it.
Tip 8 - Talk to your computer instead
If you are still cold, and you would rather put your hands in some warm gloves than type, how about using speech to operate your computer instead of the keyboard and mouse?
Using speech instead of typing or using the mouse takes a bit of getting used to. I experimented with this on a MAC when I had wrist issues and couldn't use my mouse. You can operate with speech just as well on a Windows PC too.
If you want to try out voice control, here is an article that takes you through how to do it - How to control Windows 11 using voice access.
- How to reduce your electric bill
- How to heat your home when you have no central heating
- How to keep your feet warm
- How to reduce your heating bill
Gadgets to keep you warm in the office
I have to admit I love gadgets, so I've scoured the internet for the best gadgets for keeping you warm at your desk this winter.
These make great gifts. Some of them are on my Christmas list for this year!
- Space heater. Here is a small space heater, perfect for when you don't want to use the central heating. Why heat the whole house when one room will do? I have loads more on how to heat your home without central heating here.
- Heated gloves. These gloves have an inner pad that you can heat up via the USB port on your computer. They are fingerless too, so you can wear them while typing at your keyboard.
- Heated mouse mat. My desktop is made of glass and is sooo cold in the winter. I wish I had bought a wooden one, as it would have been so much more comfortable! So, I cover it with a huge mouse mat. When I bought it, I had no idea you could actually buy heated versions, like this one.
- Heated mouse. I think these are a brilliant idea. Why not heat something you are holding most of the time anyway? If you are a big mouse user like me, try swapping it for a heated version.
- Wearable blanket. This blanket allows freedom of movement whilst giving you the comfort and warmth of a full-size blanket.
Frequently asked questions
How can I keep my hands warm at work without wearing gloves?
Take frequent breaks to keep your blood circulating to extremities. Keep a hot drink close by and try to keep the rest of your body as warm as possible.