Keeping your Staff Happy when it’s Hot
The British love talking about the weather, we moan when it’s raining and moan when it’s too hot – it seems we can never be satisfied and there is always someone in the office who’s temperature is the opposite of everyone else’s which means the temperature controls are sometimes governed by office politics.
Personally, I love the sunshine and I enjoy a good downpour – honestly I didn’t even mind when it rained on my wedding day (sorry Alanis) but at the moment heatwaves are on everyone’s minds and I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been to work in a stuffy office in France recently. It got me thinking about what employers must be doing to help their staff stay productive and happy despite the heat and thought I’d create a list, on the off chance we get a heatwave too.
Plan in advance!
Set a date each year in spring where you review how many desk fans there are, ask maintenance to check the air conditioning works, make sure the heaters aren’t stuck on ‘on’ and double check all the windows actually open.
Relax the dress code
Let the team know that sandals, smart shorts and short-sleeved tops can be worn plus ties taken off. Obviously make sure that any PPE or health and safety responsibilities are still taken care of but if you can make your staff feel better by giving them a bit more freedom with their outfits, they will appreciate it.
Let them make the most of the sunshine
Either by letting them have a slightly longer lunchbreak so they can picnic in a local park or letting them finish early so they can enjoy the longer evening sunshine.
It’s not your responsibility to ensure adults keep themselves hydrated but it doesn’t hurt to ensure the watercoolers are stocked and to remind them to drink enough. If you have employees working outside, provide decent sunscreen and cold water plus allow them to take regular breaks in shade. If you’ve got office staff enjoying the sunshine at lunch, you could surprise them with a little tube of sunscreen to use too.
You don’t have to do it everyday but nothing beats a surprise ice-cream or lolly from a manager when it’s hot! Not only is it a nice sugary boost that might help productivity but it will make the staff feel happy and appreciated too. A key point here though is make sure you include everyone – take into account intolerances (e.g. gluten) and lifestyle choices (e.g. veganism) they like spontaneous treats too!
Summer is a great theme for projects and getting everyone involved in sales competitions or group work with a summer theme provides goals and targets to teams that can get bored or disheartened by the weather or sitting indoors all day.
Look after yourself
It is easy to forget about yourself when you’re trying to look out for others so make sure you include yourself in ice-cream treats, picnics, a relaxed dress-code and anything else you do to help your staff out. Don’t let your staff go early but then stay longer than you should to catch-up on their workload, plan it so you can enjoy the perk too.
Now you’ve got some ideas we just need the lovely weather to stay so you can test them out! If you need guidance about working in hot temperatures, you can read some on the ACAS website.