If you can feel the tips of your fingers right now, congratulations. You're one step ahead of many of us.
It's cold. And we're not talking about how it feels on the way to the office.
The temperature inside the city's old, not-so-well-insulated office buildings (hello, fellow coworkers!) falls somewhere between uncomfortably chilly and the frozen tundra of the Arctic Circle. This creates a feeling of discomfort, particularly acute for women, who are traditionally more freezing cold than their male counterparts — one study found most offices set their temperatures based on the metabolic rates of men.
The problem is that experts in the field of "thermal comfort" (yes, that is a job) say there's just no way to make everyone feel comfortable at the same time.
"You and I, exposed to the exact same conditions, are going to feel very different," Gail Brager, associate director of the Center for the Built Environment at the University of California, Berkeley, said last year. "The science does not enable us to predict what a single person will feel in any given condition."
Luckily for you, dear frozen reader, there are steps you can take to fight back against the workplace phenomenon that rolls around every winter (and also every summer, when that A.C. gets cranked). Here are some ways to avoid hypothermia before your next deadline.
Invest in some attire meant for climbing Everest
Like your mama said: It's all about the layers. Get a set of fleece-lined long johns — or Under Armour if you're fancy or a former soccer player — to wear underneath your work clothes. (Here's an inexpensive but quality choice.) Make sure the bosses can tell you're wearing clothing meant for camping outdoors so they feel bad.
You could also try a scarf that's more like a blanket meant for a king-size bed, à la Lenny Kravitz. Or wear an oversize Gore-Tex coat, like that time George Costanza looked like several inner tubes stuffed inside a trash bag.
This person already tried it, and looks kind of like a cool Nordic Maleficent. Get the look.
Bring in a really nice blanket
If you can carry it on the train. Or remember it in the first place. (May we suggest setting a reminder on your phone to grab one?)
If you're really confident, go all the way and lead a meeting while wearing a Snuggie, a worthy investment of less than $20. It's an effective way to silently call out whomever is in charge of the thermostat, and the other upside is that if no one sees the work shirt you're wearing underneath, you can repeat it the next day.
Make endless cups of tea
(Or coffee, if heart palpitations warm you up.) Hold the tea. Drink the tea. Become one with the tea. And then when you have to use the restroom 84 times, at least you get to run your hands under the warm water.
Warm up that water bottle
It's a great thing to snuggle up to, as demonstrated by this small dog.
Find some fingerless gloves…
… so you can send an email to HR. Here's a pair that stretches past your cold wrists. Sorry, fingertips. Stuff the gloves with hand warmers, too.
Use a space heater
Place it under your desk, and for the love of God, be mindful that it is an actual fire hazard.
And if space heaters are forbidden …
Find the nearest radiator
Someone needs to invent a metal-detector-like device that finds the warm pockets of a room. Take that to Shark Tank ASAP.
Maybe the nearest toasty spot by a radiator isn't actually in your office, but is instead in a nearby warm place where you can hang out during your break. Like a fast-food restaurant. Or a nursing home.
Take the stairs
Burn an extra few calories and get sweaty while donning your parka and racing up the stairs like Rocky. You'll hate when the sweat dries and you're even more cold while sitting at your desk, but there will be sweet relief for, oh, about three minutes.
Strike up an office romance
Hold hands in the elevator. Borrow that person's hoodie like you're 16 again. Hug where appropriate. (Seek consent)
Print everything, all the time
Colleague Julia Terruso recommends this: Stand by the printer when you're cold. It emits heat, and the freshly printed sheets of paper can be held against your frozen forearms.
Call team meetings on the hour
Just for the extra body heat.
And if and when all else fails …
… Do what you should have done to begin with: Band together with other really cold employees and raise hell like a band of White Walkers. Take turns e-mailing the people who can fix the situation. Do not feel destined to live a life of discomfort with icicles hanging out of your nose. You've got the power.