Last year we were in our element as Met Éireann confirmed the 2018 summer as one of the hottest and driest for decades.
At the end of June, for example, a temperature of 32 degrees was recorded at Shannon Airport which was later revealed by forecasters to be the first record-breaking June temperature there since 1976!
When we’re not acting the maggot, we’re behind our desks and when the heat cranks up, so too can your employees.
While there is no designated maximum temperature in Irish Workplace Law, it is up to your HR department to step in when the sun’s out a bit too much.
Not only can a hot office become uncomfortable and distracting, it can affect employee productivity, and your business as a result.
This article will delve into some measures you can take to avoid any heatwave hassle and keep your staff cool and collected this summer!
Let’s Turn Down the Heat!
Adapting your space for a heatwave requires a mix of new additions and reworking existing features.
Insulating pipes or shading windows can minimise the heat-generating parts of the office while introducing air conditioning or anti-glare window film can be key additions to summer-proofing your workplace.
Further features such as a water cooler can make it easier for employees to stay hydrated and avoid heat-related illnesses like heat stroke and heat exhaustion.
Sending the Dress Code on Vacation
While differing dress codes exist to help a business exude a certain culture and level of professionalism, they can become a hindrance during Summer.
While there is no designation of a maximum temperature for workplaces, you have a duty of care to ensure the wellbeing of employees in times of increased heat.
The Health and Safety Authority states that during working hours, a workplace should ensure that:
‘the temperature in rooms containing workstations is appropriate for human beings, having regard to the working methods being used and the physical demands placed on the employees.’
Since 37 ˚C is normal body temperature, the TUC has set 27 ˚C (manual workers) and 30 ˚C (sedentary workers) as maximum temperatures.
Offering your employees freedom to dress in more lightweight clothing and aiming for the TUC’s recommended room temperatures, you can take a bold step forward towards a better summer policy.
Sun Smart Guidelines
Having your employees’ best interests at heart doesn’t have to end at 5pm. But do you play Baz Luhrmann’s “Sunscreen Song”? Your HR team can offer concrete guidelines and information to individuals on how best to protect themselves from the harmful effects of UV radiation.
The Marie Keating Foundation have created a SunSmart Code to equip Irish people with the vital information they need to best protect themselves in the heat.
Their SunSmart code is compiled of 5 tenets which would be useful for all employees but especially for those who complete some or all of their workday outdoors:
1. Always wear sunscreen
2. Wear protective clothing, a hat and sunglasses
3. Choose a sunscreen that has good protection against UVA rays as well as a high SPF
4. Never, ever use sunbeds
5. Avoid the sun between 11am and 3pm
To Wrap Up
Weather changes call for policy changes.
To upkeep your standards of employee wellbeing, you’ll need to innovate your office to meet the changing temperatures and humidity levels.
Introducing features like anti-glare window film or insulating office heat-producing features like pipes can significantly improve your employees’ quality of life in the workplace.
Lowering the rigours of the dress code to better accommodate employees’ needs in higher temperatures will help will upkeep productivity while helping people cool off.
Offering information about precautions to take when in the sun is a further measure that will get your employees excited for sunnier days while inspiring steps to well-being!