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With so many of us working from home, I asked around to find out what transcriptionists do to keep warm without hiking up the electricity bill.

I like the cold weather, but only to a certain degree.  This winter caught me by surprise and knocked me out cold!  The days are absolutely beautiful, and mostly it turns out to be an ice day and it snow problem, but the mornings brrrrrrring a feeling of ice-olation. 

Not warmed up yet?  Let’s talk about how to keep warm while sitting our desk.  We’ll start from the bottom:

The Feet

I use thick bed socks under some slipper-socks.  My very cute, warm bunny slippers do a great job of keeping my feet warm, but they don’t know their left from their right, so they’re simply not up for the job.  Well, really, they have no tactile feel so operating the pedal is not really their thing.   I have been known to heat a wheat bag in the microwave and pop it over the top of my feet.  This is very effective and only possible due to the angle of the platform which holds my pedal, but it’s not really sustainable due to the weight.  An electric warming pad under the pedal is my favourite suggestion and I have done some research on this.  Living on solar and off-grid, the mathematician in the household says that it wouldn’t use a great deal of energy.

The Legs

As I run most mornings, I do not want to get changed in the mornings if it is cold, so I sleep in my running gear, including leggings.   I put warm thick leggings over the top when I get out of bed in the morning and then some oversized, thick fleecy pyjama pants.  Calf socks have also been known to be involved in this process.  Then the socks and then the slippers, a blankie over the legs and feet, and I’m snug until it’s time to run, only if I start my run before my brain figures out what I’m doing.  After my run, I pop it all back on again until Sunshine arrives at the office, and he can sometimes be late.  However, it was suggested to use an electric throw.  Once again, the mathematician has calculated that an electric throw isn’t too much of a drain on the power resources.

The Torso

This is probably the easiest bit to keep warm.  I sit on a blanket on my desk chair, so this generally provides enough insulation to keep the back and the back of the legs warm.  I can’t wear anything too bulky like a dressing gown as it interferes with my keyboard tray, so I have found thin layers to be very effective.  This generally starts with a running singlet with my long-sleeved running top over the top, then a thin hooded jumper and another hoodie over the top. 

The Hands

Electric gloves and mittens were the most popular suggestions.  Gloves that come to the elbows I also find interesting.  I have thin, fingerless gloves and I will use these if I need to, but they do slow down the fingers, but so does the cold, so the gloves generally win.  As I don’t need to see the keyboard, a poncho or a blanket with a hole to put the head through has been a great tool.  It can come over the hands and create a tent-effect and contain the warmth around the hands.

The Head

Beanies were recommended, and these could suit in some situations.  I use headphones that are in-ear and over-ear and I have found beanies too thick and they interfere with the seal, but a thinner beanie can still do the trick.   I find the hoods from my jackets can provide quite a bit of warmth.


A heated chair was my favourite suggestion.  I am very fussy on my chair, so a good ergonomic desk chair which includes a heater would be a bit of an expense, but a heating pad on an existing desk chair may do the trick.  An exercise bike was my absolute favourite; hop on, move the blood around, warm up and then get back to work.  This could be very effective if there were no deadlines looming.

I wrote this while my husband was installing our new diesel-powered heater. 

What do you do to keep warm at your desk during winter?

Jo Collins

The Transcription Directory