With the arrival of June, Summer is officially here!

In anticipation of a long hot summer we’re sharing some tips to deal with the hot weather in the workplace.

Keeping cool In the workplace:

While employers are not legally obliged to provide air conditioning in workplaces, they are expected to provide “reasonable” temperatures.

  • If you have air conditioning switch it on
  • Use blinds or curtains to block out sunlight and keep things cool
  • When working outside ensure appropriate clothing is worn and encourage the use of sunscreen to protect from sunburn.
  • Make sure there is a suitable supply of drinking water in the workplace and encourage employees to keep hydrated throughout the day.

Getting to work:

Generally hot weather shouldn’t affect journeys to work, but from time to time there can be an increase in traffic in coastal and holiday hotspots and there may be impacts on public transport. In extreme temperatures train operating companies may limit the speed of trains to cope with heat related rail defects, which may result in the late arrival of trains. Encourage your employees to check with their local train company to see if speed restrictions are in place or cancellations are expected and remind them to plan their journeys accordingly.

Fasting during hot weather:

Many Muslims will fast each day from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan as part of their faith. This includes not eating food, drinking liquids or smoking. When Ramadan falls in the summer months it can be particularly challenging as the days are longer.

  • Employees may wish to use annual leave when observing the Ramadan rules,
  • Employers may help by holding meetings etc. in the mornings when energy levels are higher
  • Where possible employers could consider a temporary change in working hours

Vulnerable workers:

Hot weather can be challenging, making workers feel tired and less energetic, and it can be particularly difficult for those who are young, older, pregnant or on medication. Employers may wish to give these workers more frequent rest breaks and ensure ventilation is adequate by providing fans, or portable air-cooling units.

Dress code in the workplace during hot weather:

Some companies have a dress code in the workplace for health and safety reasons or they may require the wearing of a uniform to reinforce their brand and represent their corporate image.

While employers are under no obligation to relax their dress code or uniform requirements during hot weather, some may allow workers to wear more casual clothes, or allow “dress down” days. This does not necessarily mean that shorts and flip flops are appropriate, rather employers may relax the rules in regard to wearing ties or suits.

Make the most of the sunshine – don’t forget your sunnies, your hat and your sunscreen!