Hopefully, the temperatures of this week aren’t just destined to be a freak of this-summer’s-nature and we will have more days of sunshine to come. But how does your office staff cope at work when the mercury reaches the mid-20s and beyond? And how do you boost office morale during a heatwave?
It’s a common reaction for good weather to result in better office morale. The vast majority of us enjoy being able to spend more time outdoors in the sunshine. We exercise more and we’re able to enjoy a longer evening outside after work. Scientists also profess the many benefits of Vitamin D which our body produces in response to sunlight too; from staving off muscle weakness to stopping us getting SAD.
But when you’re stuck in a sweltering office, it can be easy for irritations and uncomfortableness to take over.
The shirt sticks to your back and your chair. Your feet are hot. You’re constantly moving your hair from your neck and peeling it off your forehead. And then you’ve got to sit in traffic for an hour inside something which closely resembles a fan-assisted oven than what was your car when you parked it up that morning.
Although the Approved Code of Practice suggests that the minimum temperature a workplace should be is 16C, there is no upper legal limit that employers have to adhere to. But scorching spells can also be a time to boost morale and bring the whole team closer together. And building teamwork is never a bad thing.
Offer Staff A Treat
A pleasant surprise always feels good. When the seldom seen MD arrives with a box of ice lollies and cold cans of fizzy drinks (or better yet, organises a visit from an ice cream van) after his/her meeting with the shareholders, it can be a huge boost to the team players in the office.
It’s such a small thing but for five minutes, everybody is a child again, getting a special treat as a reward for their good behaviour. This provides a morale boost and rejuvenates employees to continue working hard despite the heat because they feel appreciated.
Although it doesn’t happen too often, if a prolonged spell of hot weather lands, circulate a company wide email which relaxes the dress code until the weather breaks. Simply being able to ditch the tie and formal shoes can make a huge difference to how comfortable somebody is at their desk.
It lets staff know the company sees them as real people who need to feel at ease in order to work properly.
For the really adventurous, you could go as far as installing a temporary beach and beach bar. Purchase a child’s sand pit or two and have virgin cocktails last thing in the afternoon.
Taking that idea further, you could even dedicate a few hours solely to company team building and host a barbecue for all the staff. Depending on the size of the office, a couple of gas barbecues could be a worthwhile investment as it can become a yearly event – you can then start to invite customers or local businesses and make it a worthwhile networking event. For the bigger businesses, a local caterer should be available during the week to come and cook for you.
Teams could also be made responsible for providing different aspects of the BBQ menu; sales guys get the sausages, HR get the hot dogs, accounts get the… five bean salad? You get the idea.
Mix It Up A Little
When all else fails, fall back on the age old idea of “cutting them a little slack.”
If there is an intensive meeting scheduled for when the afternoon will be at its hottest, can it not just wait until the morning? Everybody will be cooler and more refreshed and the meeting should be a lot more productive. Staff who have suddenly got a couple of hours freed up will also be grateful too.
Take It Outside
If that meeting really cannot be postponed until everybody is feeling a little fresher, try taking it outside and conducting it in the sunshine.
If your office has outside space you should already have picnic tables or patio furniture. If not, head to a nearby park or green space, grab a cool drink and have the meeting on a bench or on the grass. It’s astonishing how much more quickly things can get solved when everyone is relaxed.
For general working, if you have a small team and your building doesn’t facilitate outside desk space, speak to a local coffee shop or even a pub with a garden about working there for the afternoon. Most should be happy to let you use their wi-fi in return for a small fee or steady order stream of teas and coffees.
Failing That, Make Sure Your Office Is Ready
There are some quick fixes that can help take the edge off a major hot spell; desk fans and air coolers (though these soon become expensive when cooling a large office), making sure there is a ready supply of cool water and even installing blinds can help.
There’s lots more that can be done though, from re-organising the office layout to ensuring that air circulates more effectively, to simply providing more comfortable furniture and work areas.
To discuss your options and see how you can ensure your office is best prepared for summer, winter and all future working, get in touch with our team here at Elm Workspace.