Taking Control: How Small Businesses Can Master the Nest Thermostat‘s Manual Features

The Nest thermostat‘s intuitive design and automated features have made it a top choice for small businesses looking to optimize energy efficiency. With just a few taps on your phone, you can program the thermostat to follow energy-saving schedules that adapt to your business‘s needs. However, there are times when manually overriding these presets provides greater control and cost savings. As a consultant who assists small and medium-sized businesses with everything from formation to expansion, I‘ve seen firsthand the benefits of mastering the Nest‘s manual controls.

Why Take Manual Control?

While the Nest thermostat‘s automation makes temperature regulation easy, there are scenarios where small businesses lose HVAC control. For example, wifi outages can disrupt connectivity and programmed schedules. Having the ability to manually turn on your thermostat ensures business continuity when disruptions occur. Manually testing your thermostat at initial programming also validates that desired energy savings are achieved before full automation begins.

Beyond troubleshooting, manually controlling the thermostat allows you to account for real-time business needs. If unusually warm weather causes your office to overheat, you can quickly correct the temperature rather than waiting for the next programmed adjustment. Overall, combining the convenience of a smart thermostat with strategic manual overrides gives small businesses the best of both worlds.

Accessing the Settings Menu

The process of manually turning on your Nest thermostat only takes a few minutes. The first step is locating your thermostat, which is usually wall mounted in a central spot. Next, you‘ll need to enter the settings menu:

  1. Press down on the outer ring until the display illuminates.
  2. Rotate the outer ring to highlight the settings menu (gear icon)
  3. Press the ring again to enter settings.

Switching to Manual Mode

Now, put your Nest into manual mode:

  1. Select "Heat/Cool" and press the ring to change from "Auto" to "Manual".
  2. Go back and switch "Fan" to manual as well.
  3. Turn off "Home/Away Assist" to disable motion detection.

These 3 steps give you full manual control. The Nest will no longer follow your programmed schedule.

Adjusting Temperature Manually

With your thermostat in manual mode, you can set your desired temperature:

  1. From the main menu, choose "Temperature" and press the ring.
  2. Rotate the ring left to reduce temp, right to increase.
  3. Press again once your optimal temp is displayed.

The Nest will now maintain this exact temperature until you change modes. Monitor energy usage to optimize costs.

Additional Stats and Tips

  • 72% of small businesses surveyed use a programmable thermostat, with Nest being the #1 choice (EnergyStar).
  • Manually testing thermostat presets before automation ensures desired energy savings of 8-15%.
  • If your office lacks hot spots, consider running the fan manually to optimize comfort and productivity.
  • Check that HVAC vents aren‘t obstructed when making manual temperature adjustments.
  • While convenient, full automation removes opportunities to optimize costs as business needs change.


For small businesses, the Nest thermostat‘s manual features allow greater optimization of comfort and costs versus full automation. Mastering temporary manual overrides and testing before enabling presets ensures you maximize this investment while maintaining convenience. And during disruptions, having total manual control prevents losing your business‘s ideal temperature. As your small business scales, continue leveraging the Nest‘s flexibility to meet evolving needs.