This week’s scorching UK temperatures are perfect for employees lucky enough to have taken annual leave – but what about those soldiering on in the workplace?
Advisory group ACAS is advising businesses to introduce measures to help employees stay cool throughout the hot weather conditions. And these apply equally for those enduring extreme climate conditions overseas.
“Working up a sweat in the heat of summer is no fun – and it’s certainly not conducive to getting a high quality performance out of your team,” says Rob Dolbear, Managing Director of global relocation specialist, HCR.
“As employers, we all have a responsibility to do everything possible for helping staff carry out their normal duties in comfortable conditions.
“In the UK, Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 state that the temperature of indoor workplaces should be “reasonable”.
“This may seem vague, but the guidelines clearly outline that it is obligatory for employers to avoid exposing staff to excessive temperatures at work – and that offices should have a steady supply of clean, fresh air,” adds Rob.
“As relocation specialists, one of our roles is to advise clients of the measures they can take when sending employees abroad. Providing air conditioned offices is the obvious answer but this is not always possible.
“There are others things that can be done though. Switching on fans – and using blinds or curtains to block out sunlight, for example. Sunburn is a real danger for those working outside, so they should be equipped with appropriate clothing and sunscreen.
“It may sound simple – but many people forget to drink when they’re working. Hydration is so important, not just for concentration levels but for staying healthy. We should be making sure employees have easy access to drinking water – and encouraging them to make use of it.
“This might be the time to relax the rules for wearing ties and suits too. Sometimes, in the UK and abroad, public transport is affected by adverse weather conditions. So, making sure staff are aware of changing timetables is important if you want to see them at work on time.
“Finally, older workers, pregnant women and those on medication may require extra measures, like frequent rest breaks, to help them through the hottest parts of the day.
“Nobody wants to wish this beautiful weather away but working in these conditions can be a real challenge. Introducing a few simple measures can make all the difference in maintaining happy and healthy workers, wherever in the world they happen to be.”