In the UK, we seem to spend all winter moaning about the cold and wishing for warmer weather. Yet, when the temperatures rise, we are just as unhappy.
If you own a business, then you will know only too well how hard it is to keep your employees cool and comfortable during the summer months.
Fortunately, there are several practices that you can adopt to ensure your team is cool, calm and collected – however hot it gets outside.
Ready to be the boss that saves the day? Read on to discover eight tried and tested ways to keep your workforce cool in the summer. Plus, you’ll learn why it is so important to do so!
Hire air conditioning equipment
The simplest and most effective way to keep your employees cool during the hotter months of the year is to hire air conditioners. While you may think it would be more cost-effective to invest in an air conditioning unit, in some cases it can make financial sense to hire this equipment as and when you need it, due to the unpredictable and, quite frankly, disappointing UK weather,
Portable air conditioning units are your best bet, as these can easily be moved around the office or shop floor when and where they are needed.
Be flexible with your dress code
Although you may understandably want your employees to dress professionally all year round, it can be beneficial to be a little more flexible with your dress code policy during the summer.
Depending on the nature of your business, you could allow employees to wear smart shorts or give them the go-ahead to have bare arms. Another great idea is to permit your staff to wear smart polo shirts instead of stifling collared shirts – these are excellent for keeping cool in hot weather and also look professional at the same time.
Of course, the exact rules are up to you, but encouraging workers to wear lighter and looser types of clothing can make them feel a lot more comfortable when the hot weather hits. This will help them not only feel comfortable and cooler but will also ensure they can remain productive in the heat.
Invest in personal fans
As well as having air con units dotted around the office, you may also want to invest in small personal fans for each person or cubicle space. These are inexpensive and can provide your team with some much-needed relief from soaring temperatures.
Just make sure that they tidy away any loose paperwork on their desks before they switch them on to avoid impromptu paper aeroplanes flying around the office!
Provide cold water
There is nothing quite like a glass of ice-cold water when you are feeling the heat. So, if you want to keep your employees comfortable, then you need to make sure you are providing them with a constant supply of fresh, cold water.
The easiest way to do this is by having a few well-placed water coolers in your office or shop floor so that everyone has quick access to cold water when they need it. Alternatively, you could stock the fridge with bottled water, although this can quickly get expensive if you have a large team.
If you do decide to stock bottles of water, make sure to avoid using throwaway plastic bottles, as these are harmful to the environment. Instead, consider using reusable water bottles that your employees can wash, refill and reuse every time. Plus, you can even provide staff with their own company-branded reusable water bottles!
Keep windows shut
Although you may be tempted to open all the windows in the office to allow air to circulate, this will only make everyone feel even more uncomfortable if the air outdoors is hot.
Instead, keep all the windows closed during the hottest times of the day and switch on the air con or fans to help keep your office environment cool. If your office has blinds, it can also be a good idea to close these to avoid the hot glare of the sun.
Limit physical exertion
When the weather is hot, the last thing you want to do is exert yourself, which is why you should keep physical activity to a limit. For example, let’s say you have planned for someone to clean out the stationery cupboard. Does it really need to be done urgently, or can it wait until the temperature has cooled down?
If something really does have to be done sooner rather than later, then make sure that you enlist the help of enough members of staff so that you can reduce the amount of strenuous activity per team member.
Actively avoid overcrowding
Overcrowding is common in the workplace, especially in busy departments such as sales. However, when temperatures rise, too many people in one place is a recipe for disaster.
Instead, take steps to actively avoid overcrowding, such as cancelling unnecessary meetings and encouraging independent working where possible.
Safeguard vulnerable workers
If you have vulnerable workers in your office, such as a pregnant woman or someone with an existing health condition or disability, you need to ensure that you put additional safety measures in place for them.
Make sure that they always have access to cold water and, if possible, allow them to work from home for enhanced comfort and to eliminate the need for travelling in the hot weather.
Why is it important to keep your employees cool?
Although we may not get a lot of hot weather in the UK, we tend to be woefully unprepared when the temperatures do soar. If you don’t think that you need to put measures in place to protect your employees from hot weather, then the list of heat related conditions below might convince you:
As temperatures rise, the body produces sweat to keep itself cool. If you don’t replace this lost fluid, then you run the risk of becoming dehydrated.
When the body becomes too hot, heat stress can occur. This typically manifests itself in the appearance of muscle cramps, severe thirst, nausea, headaches and possible fainting.
Heat stroke is a severe disorder that can be very dangerous if left untreated. Some of the most common signs of heat stroke are hot and dry skin, confusion, convulsions and, eventually, unconsciousness.
Lack of concentration
On a less serious note, being overheated can lead to a loss of focus and concentration, which can significantly reduce productivity.
As you can see from the above, hot weather poses a serious threat to your workforce, so you need to ensure that you take the necessary steps to protect them.
Keep your employees cool – no matter what the weather throws
Here at Cool Services, we can help you to keep your employees cool and healthy during periods of extreme weather. Get in touch with our friendly specialists today for more information!