Many Brits are now accustomed to working from home since the first national lockdown began in March 2020. Last Spring, the country was fortunate enough to enjoy warm weather that provided lots of working from home perks including al fresco Zoom calls and outdoor office spaces in the sunshine.
However, the latest lockdown has coincided with very wintery weather including heavy rain and sleet, which means working outdoors and throwing open the doors and windows to let the fresh air in is just not feasible.
We’re all trying to play our part and stay indoors but working from home when the weather is bitterly cold means heating the house throughout the whole day – and many Brits are seeing costly increases in their heating bills.
If you’re concerned about the cost of heating your home, there are some simple things you can do to stay toasty – with turning up the thermostat.
Splash out on slippers!
Sales of high heeled shoes plummeted as the nation started to work from home— and slippers have become the latest must-have item for comfortable home working. If the floors in your home are tile or laminate, they can make you feel chilly if you are sitting at a desk all day.
Banish freezing feet by investing in a cosy pair of slippers like these suede moccasins from Marks & Spencer, with a soft fluffy lining and a practical, stain-resistant finish. To bring a touch of glamour to your working day, they are also available with a shiny star motif!
If you’ve saved money by not purchasing new shoes – maybe you could treat your toes to a pair of UGG slippers for the ultimate in luxury loungewear. Available in a range of colours from espresso brown to shocking pink, they feature UGG’s signature logo, so if your colleagues get a glimpse of your footwear on your video call, they’ll see your slippers are stylish.
Winterise your wardrobe
Staying at home means that many of us have embraced the elasticated waistband and slouchy jumper look. But it’s not always appropriate if you are meeting with customers via a video call. So how do you stay warm, yet office-ready, without cranking up the heating?
We love this ruffle jumper from Next, which is smart enough for the camera, yet cosy enough to keep the chill out. It comes in a choice of oatmeal, black, bottle green or dark purple, so you can mix and match with trousers—or, if your bottom half is hidden under your desk—a comfy pair of joggers (we won’t judge!)
Keep a cardigan on the back of your chair to throw over your shoulders when things get chilly. This cashmere and merino woollen cardigan will look great over a smart blouse and the longer length will keep your legs warm too.
Put the kettle on
We rarely need an excuse to pop the kettle on, and regular hot drinks can warm you up from the inside out. Coffee and tea often top the list of go-to hot drinks, but there are many different options and flavour combinations that will pep up your working day.
Try a ginger, coconut and almond hot drink that will chase away the cold. With fragrant spices of nutmeg, turmeric and ginger it’s a spicy alternative for your elevenses—especially if served with a generous chunk of shortbread.
Soup is always comforting on a cold day, and this winter vegetable and lentil soup is a warming lunchtime treat that also packs in 4 of your 5 a day and a generous boost of vitamin C to help ward off the common cold.
If you’re looking to beat the afternoon slump and stay productive then sage tea might just be the answer. Sage is said to enhance brain function and improve memory. It’s simple to make and can be sweetened to taste with honey and left to steep for a few minutes before drinking.
Draught-proof doors and windows
If your house isn’t properly insulated, then investing in draught excluders is a must. Heat can escape under doors and through any gaps in your windows.
Keep the heat inside your home by applying draft excluder tape to your doors and windows. It is self-adhesive, easy to fix and is waterproof too.
For a fun take on draught exclusion, Wayfair has a range of funky dog-themed draught excluders that will add a whimsical touch to any room—and keep the chill air out. This Scotty-dog style cushion is filled with marble chips for a weighty solution that will block draughts. It is currently on offer at £21.99, reduced from £31.00, so grab a bargain!
Claim on your utility bills
If you are self-employed then you can claim a certain amount for your utilities, including gas and electric used for heating, if you work from home. Depending on how many hours you work, you may be eligible to claim ‘simplified expenses’ of up to £26 per month.
The gov.uk website has an eligibility checker, so it’s worth seeing if you can qualify on your next tax return.
It’s easy to succumb to a sedentary lifestyle when your commute consists of moving from your bedroom to the kitchen table, but by making the effort to move around you’ll soon start your blood circulating and warm up your fingers and toes.
Sitting in the same position for hours each day is not good for your posture—or your body temperature. Make time for a daily walk or try some simple stretching exercises to get your blood moving around your body. It might feel like an effort, but you’ll feel warmer and more productive afterwards.
If you are feeling really energetic, join body coach Joe Wicks three days each week and start your morning with a pumping heart and a warm glow.