The heat is on! Maintaining staff engagement when it’s hot hot hot! 10 tips for team leaders

 

The summer heat can be demotivating for people in the workplace and it often has an impact on productivity and absence – but it doesn’t have to be like this! Here’s what we recommend for keeping your teams super- cool, calm and engaged during the August heat.

  1. Legally, there is no maximum temperature limit at which management should send staff home although there is a minimum temperature. The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) advice is that the temperature in all workplaces inside buildings must be “reasonable”. The HSE offers advice on how to carry out a thermal comfort risk assessment if staff are unhappy with the temperature http://www.hse.gov.uk/temperature.
  2. It’s essential for employers to allow people access to cold drinks in hot weather. If staff are not allowed to drink at their workstation, then consider relaxing that rule temporarily for water – or allowing them extra drink breaks.
  3. Unless you have a strict formal dress for work, try to relax the dress code temporarily as it will make people feel more comfortable. Possibly not crop tops or bare chests (!) but looser clothing, long shorts for men and bare legs for women could be acceptable in many workplaces.
  4. Hot weather often sees a rush of annual leave requests. Plan for this in advance and make sure you have enough people to maintain cover over hot months.
  5. Some workers may be more adversely affected by the hot weather such as the elderly, pregnant women or those on medication. Consider offering them more frequent rest breaks and ensure ventilation is adequate.
  6. Staff with hay fever suffer more than most through summer. Management can help by making sure the environment is as dust-free as possible with regular cleaning.
  7. Always test your fans and/or air-conditioning before the heat really kicks in – so people are not sitting in a sweat, fanning themselves with copy paper when the temperature rises.
  8. If you don’t offer flexible working already, consider introducing it temporarily over hotter months, so staff can commute at cooler times of the day. Or consider remote working if you can do so fairly with no adverse impact on the business.
  9. Warm weather often coincides with an increase in sickness absence – much of it caused by genuine illness or the after-effects of too much sun, other instances from the after-effects of too much summer partying! Summer absence should be handled in line with your absence management policies, so make sure you reinforce these throughout the hot weather.
  10. Line managers could be given a small budget on hot days for ice creams, strawberries or a swift round of drinks after work, as a motivating gesture and a thank you to their hard-working teams. As with most good management, the secret is engagement and knowing your people well enough to motivate them. Crack this over the summer months and you’ll harness that sunshine feel-good factor all year round!