Is turnover falling as temperatures are rising?

Posted on 27th June 2018

It’s hot and it’s getting hotter. If your working environment is an office, you have probably already had the aircon discussion with the constant disagreement about the temperature.  If you are outside, it’s tempting to remove the PPE that you have been issued, and if you are in a production or warehouse environment you may well not have even noticed the change in temperature.

There are so many different working environments it’s difficult to predict how the heat affects your business. But there are some key things to consider to ensure that your employees are happy to be at work actually working; even when the beer garden/paddling pool/sun/football is calling to them!

 

Reasonable…

Reasonable is a difficult standard to meet in the workplace, dealing with so many individuals it is difficult to meet all of their expectations as to what reasonable is. However, the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 state that indoor workplace temperatures should provide ‘reasonable comfort’ for employees. So how do we do that?

 

What can we do…?

When employees are too hot, they can get short tempered, easily frustrated and generally disgruntled. There are some simple things to think about providing or supporting that can have a huge impact on your employee’s comfort and their productivity alike.

 

Fans

No, not football fans, although it may feel like we have an abundance of those in workplaces at the minute. There are many different types, but I would urge you to consider which ones would suit your workplace before you run out to Argos having just recently witnessed the damage that can be done to even the most organised filing pile by a desk fan!

 

Windows

Open them if you can but consider things like noise pollution and the location of your workplace for those hay fever sufferers. If it is that opening the windows isn’t an option due to location, is it possible to have blinds to screen your employees from the sun and cut out some of the heat?

 

Location, location, location

If you are lucky enough to have air con, somebody will always be unhappy with the temperature. To alleviate the issue, is it possible for employees to move their workstations etc.? If you are in the mood for a spring clean, maybe a rejig of the office to move people away from windows or move screens away from glare.

 

Dress code

Always an interesting subject, even without the added element of heat. If possible are you able to relax the dress code in your workplace? I wouldn’t recommend that you say to employees that they can wear what they want. However, allowing smart shorts instead of suit trousers and the like can go a long way towards an employee’s comfort. If your employees are on construction sites, or in PPE environments it may be difficult to relax the rules. Instead, consider the types of PPE which are essential. If you are looking to relax the dress code and are unsure about what sort of boundaries to maintain, give us a call and we can format a document that fits your needs.

 

Hydration

Ensuring that drinks are available and that employees get the chance to hydrate properly can have a major effect on productivity. Lack of hydration can affect people in many ways from headaches to lack of concentration and more. We didn’t think a water dispenser would work in our office, we are far too caffeine dependent. But I have to say water consumption is up and caffeine is down; that can only be a good thing in terms of our health!

 

Vulnerable workers

Hot weather and environments can make workers feel tired and less energetic; especially for those with health issues, pregnant employees, or those on medication. It is important to consider their needs. Talk to them about whether they need more frequent rest breaks or adjustments that could make them more comfortable.

 

There are many ways of trying to support employees through uncomfortable temperatures, as well as trying to ensure that they are still working rather than planning the best route home to avoid traffic and maximise their time in the garden. The trick is to try and find the one that fits your employees and your work environment with minimal disruption to your normal working practices. Hiring an ice-cream van to come to your place of work isn’t suitable for everyone (yes, it has been done), but allowing employees to run like small children to the ice-cream van as it comes around the corner (yes that’s been done too!) can give a well-earned respite from the heat whilst having a tasty treat!

It’s a balancing act. Some employees may try and push the boundaries when they can. So if you would like support to relax the rules without throwing away the rule book, give us a call. We would be happy to help!

Lindsay Baker Character
Written by:
Lindsay Baker
Head of HR