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Tips and Tricks to Work Through A Heat Wave

Tips and Tricks to Work Through A Heat Wave

person working on a laptop by a pool

As record-high temperatures hit the United States and every region experiences its own heat wave, you probably still have to work. As much as we may love to shrug off our responsibilities and sit at the pool all summer long, our bosses may not agree.

But the heat wave makes it that much harder to get work done, especially if the beach is calling your name. To help you beat the heat wave, we’ve gathered a few tips and tricks to get you through your hot, working girl summer.

Working From Home

Those of you working from home probably have more flexibility than those of you working from an office this summer. Here are a few work-from-home tips for beating the heat.

Find alternatives to your humid house during a heat wave.

large library with shelves of books and people sitting at tables—libraries are great air conditioning heat wave alternatives

You may be looking for an escape from your house during a heat wave, especially if you don’t have air conditioning. While you could go to a café or coffee shop, being there may be noisier than what you want and need. Try visiting your local public library or a similar community center. Places like that will have air conditioning and will be much quieter than your closest Starbucks. Bonus: You won’t be tempted to buy an expensive coffee and you’ll be supporting your local public library.

Cold washcloths and ice packs help too!

three small towels—one gray and two purple—rolled up on white background

If you have to work from somewhere without air conditioning, and your desk fan just isn’t cutting it, try a damp washcloth or ice packs. This is an easy way to keep just a bit cooler. If you have a fan, the cold air will keep the washcloth colder for longer. You can put it around your neck or in your lap.

You can also use ice packs made for injuries to sit on, rest on your lap, or put on your back. Ice packs specifically made for wisdom teeth surgery or broken legs are more flexible and easier to wrap around different parts of your body.

Here are some cooling washcloths and some good ice packs to try!

Go on a heat wave get-away when you can.

large cabin structure in mountainous, woodsy area, great for a heat wave get away

If you do work from home, you aren’t tied to your house or where you live. Find somewhere in the mountains or near water that stays at least a bit cooler than where you live. Mountain ranges tend to be cooler during the summer than places lower in elevation. Even if there is a heat wave, it should still be cooler in places of higher elevation. Places near the coasts or large bodies of water like the Great Lakes also tend to be cooler because the water takes longer to heat up.

To make it more fun, gather a group of friends who also WFH and stay together. You can work the day and hang out together at night — you get a vacation without even taking time off from work. In your downtime, you can go hiking or swimming and take in a more beautiful view than your typical one from home.

Working From the Office

While you may have air conditioning in your office, the worst part of actually going to work is finding office-appropriate outfits that are also heat-wave-appropriate.

Business attire is difficult even when the temperature isn’t reaching the upper 90s. The summer is a good time to invest in a few summer staples that will also help you keep cool.

Can’t wear shorts to the office? Pair dresses with spandex or biker shorts.

woman wearing red dress stands at desk, looking over papers with a coworker wearing a pink shirt

While just wearing a dress or skirt may lead to uncomfortable chafing, pairing your dresses with spandex or biker shorts can help prevent the problem. Not only does it mean that you get to secretly wear shorts to the office, but with the right shorts you won’t have to keep pulling them down when they ride up.

Always get the shorts with pockets — that way you can wear them after work too.

Want to prevent chafing? Try Megababe.


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Katie Sturino founded Megababe because, “My thighs rub together. My boobs sweat. And my B.O. is the worst! … We make clean, cute body care products that really work to keep you comfy!”

Megababe has a Thigh Rescue stick and Bust Dust. Both products keep discomfort at bay, even while you’re sweating.

Choose athletic clothing when possible.

person wearing business attire

Clothing made to work out is made to work with your sweat. In the last few years, we’ve seen a rise in cute athletic clothing, appropriate for more than just SoulCycle. When you can, choose athletic clothing instead of your regular work attire. You can find athleisure slacks, dresses, and skirts. If you wear athletic clothing, you can dress office-appropriate while still wearing sweat-wicking technology. And you’ll be more comfy too!

Bring a change of clothes during a heat wave.

person carrying bag—bring a change of clothes to work with you during a heat wave

It’s not uncommon for people to bring a change of clothes to the office — people who bike to work, for instance, often do so. But you don’t have to work out before you get to the office in order to bring a change of clothes. Walk, drive, or ride to work in shorts and a t-shirt and change when you get to your office. This is especially helpful if the AC is on full-blast at work but does not reflect the temperature outside. This also means you can wear whatever you need to at work but you don’t have to walk through the heat wave outside wearing your power suit or buy a whole new work wardrobe just for the summer.

See Also

Make sure to bring yourself a sweater if your office has intense AC.

person wearing sweater in an office

While you may spend your time outside sweating and want to wear a dress instead of pants, think about what the weather in your office is like; if you’re cold at work all-year-long, throw an extra sweater into your bag so you can adjust to the temperature inside too.

Other Tips and Tricks

Drink lots of water!

ice water

This applies to everyone — people who work from home and people who work from an office. Water is the best thing for you to drink when record-breaking temperatures are following you through the summer. Coffee and alcohol are going to dehydrate you more. As much as you may need your morning caffeine boost, dehydration could lead to nausea, headaches, and more. If you’re spending the day sweating, make sure to drink lots of water, especially during record heat waves. It’ll help you keep your focus more if you’re not dehydrated.

If you work out in the heat wave or find yourself feeling overly dehydrated, a good option to turn to is sports drinks or those with electrolytes, but that’s never a replacement for water.

A good way to keep drinking water? Find a super fun water bottle that keeps your water cold and makes drinking more water more fun. Or add some fresh fruit!

Find a community pool and some lemonade when you’re off work.

pool with floaties in it

Look for a local pool or beach that you can spend time at during your free time. While you should try to avoid sitting in the sun too much while it’s so hot, make sure you get some swimming in this summer. While you may no longer get summer break, you can still make the most of your free time!

Find activities to fill your free time that gets you out of the heat wave sun.

seven colorful crochet hooks with ball of pink yarn—alternative activities during a heat wave

Give yourself a break from the sun and find activities to fill your free time that also gives you a break from the heat wave outside. Find some inspiration for craft ideas here.

Whatever you do, wear sunscreen All. The. Time.

person with sunscreen on her face and a flower in her hair—remember to wear sunscreen during a heat wave

While it is important to put on sunscreen every day of the year — even when it’s not sunny — you should definitely be wearing sunscreen every day of the summer, even if you don’t plan to sit in the sun. Your skin can be damaged from sitting in a sunny window, spending just a little too long in the sun, and especially when you’re sitting on the beach. Nothing makes hot weather worse than the heat of a sunburn.

Here’s a good daily sunscreen/moisturizer combo!

It’ll be a long summer with hot weather and while you may love it, you may also need a little extra push to keep working through the heat wave. Just remember, everyone else is sweating as much as you are!

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