Managing staff during a heatwave? That’s not something we might be familiar with here in the UK. Let’s not forget we’re living in Britain and we could all be back in jumpers by next week, or even sooner! However, during the current heatwave there are a number of things worth considering in order to keep your colleagues cool whilst at work.
Here’s six top tips for managing staff during a heatwave:
There is no maximum temperature set out in law, but advice states the temperature inside workplaces should be “reasonable”.
Of course, what is reasonable may vary depending upon the nature of your work (e.g. if you work in a kitchen it would be normal to expect to have to work in increased temperatures).
If you have air conditioning you may want to ensure that it is working and switched on, try to keep sunlight out using blinds or curtains where possible.
You do have a legal obligation to provide drinkable water in the workplace, so if your drinking water supply isn’t available for some reason you will need to provide bottled water to your employees.
The hot weather shouldn’t usually affect employees getting to work, although for anyone who travels by train there could be the chance of delays as trains are often required to slow down when it’s particularly hot in order to prevent rails from buckling. So you may wish to take this into account before you record any lateness.
During the summer months where it’s particularly hot this can make employees feel more tired, particularly where they are pregnant or taking some medications.
You may wish to consider giving employees more frequent breaks, consider bringing in or buying fans, and perhaps provide the occasional cold drink or ice cream to keep everyone cool!
You are under no obligation to relax your dress code if you have one during hot weather but you may wish to allow employees to wear more temperature appropriate clothing during particularly hot spells.
This doesn’t mean, however, that you have to allow flip flops and strapless tops. So if you do allow employees to ‘dress down until it cools down’, do ensure you communicate clearly what is and is not acceptable.
Many Muslims will be observing Ramadan at the moment, which means that they cannot eat or drink between sunrise and sunset – which is clearly challenging in hot weather like this!
You may wish to support Muslim colleagues during this period by allowing annual leave, arranging a temporary change in working hours, or holding meetings in the mornings when energy levels are higher.
If you have any queries or of further questions regarding any of the above, don’t hesitate to get in touch!
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20th Nov 2019