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Contracting often means travelling to different workplaces. But what can you do when these locations are freezing cold? Here are some tips to help contractors out.

Being a contractor often means not having a permanent workplace. You will find yourself travelling to different locations; experiencing offices, construction sites, co-working spaces and plenty of other places of all shapes and sizes. Unfortunately, with winter well on its way, there’s no guarantee any of these are actually going to be warm.

There’s nothing worse than trying to get your work done with chattering teeth and numb fingers, no matter what industry you’re in. But as contractors, you might not feel comfortable asking for the heating to be turned up. And of course, if there’s a broken thermostat, a draughty building or if you’re working outside, this option might not even be available.

So how can you make sure you stay warm at work when you’re self-employed, staving off the colds and flu that come with winter? Here are our top tips for contractors to avoid the cold:

Layer up

It can be tricky knowing what to wear when you’re headed to an unfamiliar workplace. You don’t know what the temperature will be like, so you have to make a guess about whether or not to put on your big woolly jumper. But you don’t want to be too warm either, so what can you do?

Your best bet is to wear three or four layers of thinner clothing. If you just wear a t-shirt and a jumper, for example, you only have two choices. If the weather is too warm for a sweater but too cold for just a t-shirt, you won’t be comfortable. The more layers you wear, the more options you have to find the right temperature for you.

Protect the things that matter

Whether you’re fixing a leaky pipe, programming a new app or building a wall, the main part of your body you’ll be using is your hands. If they’re cold, they’ll become numb and painful, as well as being hard to use. If you’re worried about the cold, a good pair of gloves should be part of your everyday outfit, as long as you can still work with them on.

Similarly, if you’re on your feet for a large part of your day, you should make sure you’re wearing thick socks and comfortable shoes. If you’re outside, you don’t want the wind to freeze your ears and nose, so a hat and scarf will be a must. Always think about which of your body parts will feel the cold the most, and prioritise them.

Pack a warm lunch

Hot food is always a good idea when it’s cold, but you can’t always guarantee your workplace will have a microwave, or even a kettle for you to have a cup of tea or coffee. You need to take your own initiative when heading to an unfamiliar workplace by investing in a good insulated flask or two.

This way you can ensure you always have access to a hot drink, as well as soup, stew or curry for lunch. A good tip is to opt for a spicy recipe, as these will warm you up even more; but make sure you stay within your tolerance for chilli so you don’t burn your tongue off!

Invest in portable heaters

We don’t mean buying a great big space heater and lugging it around wherever you go, although if you know your workplace will be okay with it, then knock yourself out. Instead, you should look into different portable options for warming yourself up, wherever you are.

For example, it’s possible to get little pouches that work a bit like a glowsticks, in that you squeeze them until you hear a click and they warm up. These can fit in you pocket or in the palm of your hands, and are a great way to get some instant warmth when you’re working outdoors.


We hope this blog will help you this winter! If you are a contractor looking for accountancy support, contact Brookson and find out more about our Limited Company and Umbrella service.

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