Managing the heat at work


On Monday, the Met Office issued an amber weather warning for extreme heat across parts of the UK ahead of further soaring temperatures this week. The Southeast is expected to exceed temperatures of 35 degrees - The rare warning states there could be a danger to life or potential serious illness because of the scorching temperatures. However, despite this in the UK there is no maximum temperature that a workplace is allowed to be, rather just advice that both employees and employers should follow. 

Claire Merrit, partner at Southampton law firm Paris Smith, said: “Employers have an obligation to keep employees safe in the workplace, however health and safety rules set no maximum temperature for the workplace.

As the heat becomes more intense, employees can begin to feel less engaged and motivated. Employers however can take some very simple steps to ensure that employees feel valued and appreciated, reducing absenteeism and lack of productivity. Effortless gestures like ice lollies, cold drinks, fans and air conditioning go a long way to make the atmosphere more comforting. Some Businesses may also like to offer incentives such as frequent breaks or early finishes to make sure employees still hit their targets and get the work done. This could also mean starting earlier when temperatures are lower.

The heat not only effects our bodies physically but also our mental state. Employers can reduce the chances of heat stress by…

  • Training workers in heat stress awareness and first aid
  • Providing and encouraging workers to drink water
  • Indoors, provide fans for air movement
  • Schedule most strenuous work to cooler times of the day

In some professions, where possible, Hybrid working should be considered and implemented. In a heatwave some workplaces, such as old buildings or those with a lot of glass, can become extremely hot and employers need to be aware of the health risks. People’s health and safety should be first and foremost and employers should be particularly mindful of people with a disability or health condition as the heat can make them particularly vulnerable. Helen Jamieson, managing director of Ringwood-based HR firm Jaluch, said: “In a nutshell, do whatever you can to make things more comfortable for your employees’. The heat can affect people’s level of concentration and cause fatigue and so being in a congenial environment has a direct impact on the motivation to work to full capabilities.

At Brite we pride ourselves in partnering with Clients who care and prioritise their staff’s wellbeing. We also offer job opportunities which are fully remote and/or hybrid where everyone can work coherently to strive for the best possible outcomes. Contact us now to start your new career journey.

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