Let’s face it, us Brits are pretty obsessed by the weather – we’d be stuck for conversation and media pages would be empty half the time without it. And while we might all enjoy knowing it’s wetter than Seattle, colder than Alaska or hotter than the Bahamas, extreme weather can be a real problem for workers and heat possibly the worst.
With extreme high temperatures forecasted to hit the UK and a Met Office warning to boot, it may be worrying some of your team and productivity impacted. So, just like any other extreme scenario, you should be proactive in managing it as best you can to make things more bearable for your people.
Top Tips for Supporting Your Colleagues in Hot Weather
- Be understanding: it’s easy to jump to conclusions when someone calls in sick on a sunny day, but hot weather can actually increase instances of sickness. Chances are they’re suffering, not sunbathing, so keep an open mind and offer your support.
- Relax the dress code: There’s nothing worse than being forced into a suit and tie in the searing heat. You want your teams to be able to focus on work, rather than baking and getting ill, so encourage your people to wear light, loose-fitting clothing when they come into work.
- Embrace remote working: Commuting in a heatwave is not for the faint-hearted. Tubes, trains, buses and trams can be unbearable when temperatures soar, so if your people can work from home, try to give them total flexibility until the weather returns to normality.
- Offer altered hours: Even if your employees are working from home, they might find it difficult to concentrate mid-afternoon. Instead, give them the option to start work early, and finish later when the temperatures have dipped.
- Encourage regular breaks: To protect the health and wellbeing of your people, send regular reminders to take breaks and remain hydrated. Not drinking enough water is extremely dangerous when it’s this hot – and dehydration makes it very hard to stay alert.
- Balance the practical and helpful with some fun: It’s not very often we’re hit with weather to rival the Bahamas, so why not have a bit of fun with it? Buy ice creams for your teams, allow them to finish early on a Friday, or maybe fire round a heatwave-themed quiz?
- Be patient: Most offices enjoy the luxury of aircon, but when people are working from home, they’re likely to have the windows wide open – meaning you’ll probably experience some noise and distraction on your video calls. Try to show understanding.
- Provide (if you can): Very few UK homes have aircon, so the most practical and helpful thing you can do might be to offer to buy each employee a decent fan. And some might prefer it to other perks, so if it’s possible, do it.
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Enjoy the sunshine, keep cool, and do your best to carry on.
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