As we see temperatures rising across the UK this week with highs forecast to hit up to 41C (106F), 11 Waterloo Place understands the importance of keeping cool and comfortable in the office.
Heat stress can make us incredibly uncomfortable and put health and safety at risk. At best, it can lead to manageable fatigue, but in many cases can result in exhaustion and dehydration that impacts a not only person’s working ability and productivity, but their general wellbeing.
Having no legal minimum or maximum working temperature in the UK can make it difficult to determine the best cause of action in such climates, but we can certainly limit the risk of illness or business disturbance by taking some steps to keep our working environment as comfortable as possible.
It may seem tempting to let the natural light into your office but having the sun beaming through the windows will create an almost greenhouse effect. Keeping all blinds and curtains shut will limit this from happening. If for some reason this cannot be done, consider moving people’s working areas into a cooler or more shaded area, keeping desks out of direct sun light.
During the day, it is also encouraged to close all windows, this minimising hot hair circulating. Instead open them in the early hours or late evening when temperatures have cooled down.
If you have the luxury of flexible working, you may also wish to consider accommodating more flexible working hours, giving staff the option to start earlier or later, so they can have more of their working day when temperatures are not at their peak.
Offices are home to lots of heat generating/electrical items, keep the impact of these to a minimum buy ensuring any unnecessary ones are switched off. Not only will this reduce the temperature in the room but will also save on electrical consumption. You might also want to consider moving machinery that emits heat to other areas where possible.
Finally, relaxing work attire and allowing more informal workwear such as no suits, ties, or jackets is a great way to ensure you and your team feel comfortable in the workplace.
Above all, whether you are working at home or in the office, it is paramount to stay hydrated, take plenty of breaks, and wear a good SPF if you go out in the sun.