UK heat wave – What should business owners be aware of?Natalie Lewis
With temperatures in the UK set to rise above a scorching 30 degrees centigrade this week, this unprecedented heat wave will be enjoyed by some but loathed by others. Extremes of weather often have a negative impact on UK businesses.
So what should business owners be aware of? I’ve put together some tips which if implemented should minimise the impact of the UK heat wave on your business.
Concentration and Breaks
- Hot weather can reduce cognitive power and increase the amount of rest needed to function at 100%. Don’t assume that employees feel empowered to take additional breaks – encourage them to do so.
- Offices with water dispensers will need to stock more water and allow staff to have drinks at their desks
- Workers should be given advice regarding staying hydrated in warm weather, a simple email to all staff encouraging them to drink plenty of water would suffice.
- Consider relaxing your company dress code to enable employees to keep cool. You should stipulate what staff should remain modestly covered to avoid embarrassment!
- Where possible fans should be provided, windows opened or air conditioning on
- If office temperatures are becoming unbearable, consider whether some or all staff could work from home or other locations
- IT equipment and lighting can be a significant source of heat. Make sure all non-critical equipment or lights are turned off.
- School-aged children may be more likely to suffer problems at school, both heat-related and some schools may choose to send children home if the temperatures become too high.
- Your staff may be sleeping badly, but parents may also have to deal with children who are sleeping badly, bear this in mind if performance takes a small drop.
- Babies may be more prone to problems and so parents may need to have provisions to work from home if they can’t arrange childcare.
- It is likely that there will be some travel disruption during the hot weather; your staff should make contingency plans such as leaving home earlier to get to work, however, some flexibility and understanding should be exercised on both parts.
- Trains: train tracks can buckle under intense heat, causing delays to services.
- Roads: road surfaces can expand and break up, which can cause severe delays before maintenance services can start repairs.
- Stations: many stations operate at full capacity, which means the added demand of delays can cause havoc.
- Cars and bicycles: both are more likely to suffer faults or problems in hot weather so be prepared – consider a car sharing scheme in advance.
Sunbathing at Breaks
Often staff will want to sunbathe during their lunch breaks, however this is when then sun is at its strongest. To avoid problems such as sunstroke and sunburn, encourage your staff to be responsible and use sun cream and stay in the shade.
If you have any HR problems resulting from the heat wave or do you just need some professional advice on HR issues? Get in touch now, before problems becomes unmanageable (and expensive).