This July record temperatures are set to hit, bringing some of the warmest temperatures in the history of the UK’s weather records. In a similar way to extreme cold, extreme hot can have a big impact on office life, in particular, because the UK isn’t as prepared for heat as cold, in the same way that other countries are such as the US.
There aren’t any regulations in terms of business shut downs in the heat, but there are standardised guidelines, and if employees have concerns, employers are obliged to carry out a risk assessment in order to ensure the safety of their employees. Here is some of the guidance offered by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for extreme heat:
Heatwave in an office – for employers
- Reschedule work to cooler times of the day
- Provide more frequent rest breaks and introduce shading to rest areas
- Provide free access to cool drinking water
- Introduce shading in areas where individuals are working
- Encourage the removal of personal protective equipment when resting to help encourage heat loss
- Educate workers about recognising the early symptoms of heat stress
In addition, during a heatwave, the NHS has advised: ‘Stay out of the sun. Keep your home as cool as possible – shading windows and shutting them during the day may help. Open them when it is cooler at night.
‘Keep drinking fluids. If there’s anybody you know, for example an older person living on their own, who might be at special risk, make sure they know what to do.’
Whilst clothing isn’t mentioned, making reasonable adjustments to an office dress code is another good way to ensure staff are comfortable, as is providing additional equipment such as fans and mobile air conditioning units.
Heatwave in an office – for employees
The HSE suggests following the following guidelines to ensure you can keep cool in warmer weather:
- Take regular breaks and drink lots of water
- Stay hydrated to avoid feeling unwell at work
- Dress in a manner that allows you to stay cool.
Office space to rent
If you’re looking for a shared office space to move into this summer in a rural location but with the convenience of being close to city centres, get in touch with SEND Business Centre for more information on our flexible office rental contracts in Woking.