As this Summer’s heatwave goes from strength to strength, many office workers will be wondering how much more they can take! Contemporary office blocks are generally built with air regulation systems integrated across the building. However for those working in the huge number of buildings that don’t, how have you been able to keep cool in the office?
There are things that workers can do, things that employers can do, and more long term decorative or maintenance actions that will hold your business in good stead for future bouts of warm weather.
If the air in your corner of the office is stuffy and still, it would be worthwhile investing in a small desk fan. Think about paper, though. Don’t go for a fan that will turn your office into something resembling the Crystal Dome. It’s also important to consider any colleagues that work closely and position fans in a way that works for everyone in an office area.
Eat Little and Often
When temperatures soar, we all need to act a little more Mediterranean. We don’t mean by taking a little desk-top siesta (tempting though that is!) but by avoiding large meals in the middle of the day. Little and often and fresh are the key ways to keep energised all day long.
Ice Cold Water
Of course it’s important to remain hydrated – hot weather saps your body’s hydration even if you are sitting at a desk. However, another way that water can help is to cool your pulse points. Run your wrists under cold water; this cools the blood flow to the rest of your body.
Ensure Regular Breaks
Hot weather affects people’s ability to concentrate. This is especially so for those office workers who spend the majority of their time at one or more screens. Electronic devices generate heat, so it is key that these workers take regular breaks from their desks and screens.
Sufficient Cool Water
Whether your office uses water cooler points or the more old school tap system, ensure that employees have access to sufficient ways of accessing and cooling water and other drinks.
Get the Lollies In
Working through a succession of hot days is a challenge for the most focussed of minds. So as an employer, take the lead and treat staff to a round of ice lollies, ice creams, or iced coffees. This will not just cool the team down, but raise morale at the same time.
For the building:
Invest in Air Regulation Systems
At a time of office refit or redecoration, consider the extremes of temperature that the UK experiences. It’s easy to have a knee jerk reaction to a heatwave and purchase portable air conditioning units. However, the long sighted business owner will invest in systems that will regulate an office temperature all year round.
Fit Light Diffusing Blinds
It’s great to have large windows and glass throughout the office. On hot days, though, the sun becomes oppressive so it is important to have good blinds fitted to large windows. Invest in blinds that have thermal properties whilst diffusing the light so you can keep cool in the office whilst retaining some natural light.
Layout of Your Office
Excess heat is generated by electronics. So when you are planning an office layout, ensure that no individual is surrounded by monitors and printers. Similarly, consider any decorative light installations that you may have invested in. Perhaps the heatwave is a time to let these items take a break!
There’s no doubt about the single most effectual building investment that ensures you will keep cool in the office. That is, of course, installing an air regulation system that will maintain constant temperatures whatever the British weather has in store! In the meantime, wherever your position in an organisation, taking steps that prioritise the wellbeing of yourself, colleagues and staff is a great place to start.