When last month’s week-long heatwave struck the UK, the news was flooded with stories of schoolboys in skirts and businessmen ditching their suits. Employee welfare was a hot topic, with trade unions and politicians weighing in on what to do when working conditions soar.
This got us thinking – what matters most to employees working in hot weather, and how can employers best prevent wilting productivity, melting motivation, and support their team?
A recent LinkedIn thread gives us an insight into what workers think would make them most productive when the mercury rises, including but not limited to: fans, open space, frequent breaks, ice lollies, barbecues at lunchtime, and siestas.
Jokes aside, working in prolonged periods of hot weather is not only uncomfortable but can also be dangerous depending on the nature of your work. In this blog, we’re going to address 3 of the key talking points that UK employers should be prioritising.
When temperatures rise, the temptation to throw the suit jacket out of the window can be too strong to resist. Implementing a more relaxed dress code throughout the summer months will make sure that staff feel more comfortable and ready to work, but how can employees maintain a professional atmosphere when everyone’s hanging around in shorts?
In short, they’re not. Although many employers do – and will - adopt a more flexible dress code during hot weather, businesses can still define what falls (and doesn’t fall) within that code. Not all businesses are the same, so employers must decide what is appropriate for their work culture and environment.
No one wants to sit in the office when it’s sunny outside – but where do businesses draw the line on breaks? There are lots of ways to enjoy the outdoors at work – bringing the morning meeting outside or hosting training over a picnic in the park are all great ways of raising staff morale and keeping ideas fresh.
There is a lot of evidence to suggest that allowing staff to work more flexibly throughout the summer can boost productivity and motivation. Permitting staff to manage their own workflow and deadlines around their preferred schedule – whether that means working outside or taking more breaks – can increase job satisfaction and absenteeism.
When quizzed about what would make them more productive at work during a heatwave, the top priority for workers was the quality of aircon in the office. According to law, UK employers are required to make sure the temperature in their premises is ‘reasonable’ (this can vary depending on health and safety regulations in each workplace.)
Aircon aside, optimising working conditions for hot weather should be a key priority for employers. This means providing more space or options for working, ensuring the cupboards are well stocked with water and other refreshments, and making sure there are enough tissues to go around (for any hay fever sufferers).
When it comes to maximising motivation and productivity during the summer months, do you do anything different at work? We’d love to hear your thoughts on lunchtime siestas (after that barbecue...). Tweet us your hot weather tips: @uopoffice