Ever notice how hot and sunny weather can hit productivity and increase sickness absence? The human body is not designed to work in sustained high temperatures and lethargy can easily creep in to the working day, particularly if businesses aren’t flexible when hot days set in over the summer.
Here’s our top tips for maintaining attendance and performance in your team:
Most businesses don’t test their fans and air conditioning until a hot spell arrives – but how do you know they will still work if they’ve been stored since last summer? Be smart and test your systems in the Spring.
Know the rules
We’ve all heard the temperature myths from time to time – ‘if it goes above 25 degrees you are supposed to send us home’! Not so fast: The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 says that your employer must maintain a reasonable temperature where you work, but it does not specify a maximum temperature. There is, however a minimum temperature of 16°C, or 13°C if your work involves considerable physical activity.
Hydrate your workforce
In hot weather, it is important to make sure your staff have access to cold drinks. Hydration is crucial to happy, healthy staff, so consider giving staff extra breaks to rehydrate if they are not allowed to drink at their desk, or consider relaxing that rule for water.
Relax the dress code
Even where business dress is important, relaxing the dress code a little in hot weather will make staff more comfortable and therefore more productive. Think about short sleeved shirts and no ties. Customers will understand as they will also be suffering.
Small gestures go a long way
If there’s one way to get your team going, it’s free canned drinks, strawberries or even ice creams. Give your leaders a small budget now and again and these little gestures will go a really long way.
Offering flexible start and finish times will help staff avoid stifling heat while commuting at busier times. You might even permit home working for those staff who are able. If, however, you do this, make sure everyone is aware of who is working, where and when and make sure sickness absence and staff holiday is still both accrued and deducted for remote workers.
The key to all the above is engagement. There’s no point in offering things to your employees if the team does not want them. Ask your staff what would make them happier and find the right balance. A happy team is a productive team, which offers a win/win for employers and employees.