Summer is finally here, the sun is out, the nights are long and everyone is happier – right? Well not everyone, especially employees battling long commutes on overcrowded stuffy trains and sitting in warm offices 9-5 dreaming of the weekend and it’s only Monday. So how can you keep staff motivated and cool during a heatwave without giving them the summer off?

1) Be flexible

If your office is based in the city centre and your staff need to navigate public transport during busy periods, consider operating a flexible work arrangement to allow staff to start early (or late) to avoid congested commutes. It’s a lot easier to enjoy being at work and be effective at what you are doing if you don’t feel like you’ve just run a marathon before you start!

2) Keep Hydrated

Keep hydrated – it sounds obvious, but staying hydrated keeps the mind focussed and water is the very best fluid to keep hydrated (and it’s free – sometimes!)

Ensure water bottles are filled, remind staff to drink and encourage team water breaks at least every hour.  Skip the ‘tea run’ and replace with the water run.  Encourage staff to bring in sports water bottles to keep at their desks or use bigger glasses if you have them.

If you have a small team, and cooled water bottles are on the horizon but not an actuality – buy a couple of sports water bottles for staff instead. They’ll appreciate the thought, and will keep them focussed. Perfect for keeping staff motivated and cool during a heatwave!

3) Dress down

Businesses are operating a more casual dress code for work, but if your office is slightly more business traditional – consider relaxing the dress code for the summer. Do employees really need to wear ties? An open shirt with trousers is still professional – just a little cooler!

We understand not all businesses can be flexible with work attire, especially those who legally have to wear specific clothing to adhere to Health and Safety – but wherever you can be flexible with clothing.

4) Ice cream

Slightly trickier to implement, and not something that could be done every day. Consider stocking the freezer box, if you have one with ice lollies and ice creams for Friday lunch times…It’s always hard to keep staff motivated after lunch on Fridays, even harder when the office temperature is rising and staff are watching the clock and dreaming about the weekend.

There is nothing better after a long, hot week in the office to motivate staff during a heatwave than being offered an ice lolly (unless you can afford to give your staff the afternoon off and fly them to St Tropez of course!)

4) Office Maintenance

Go back in time and keep your air conditioning maintained throughout the winter. Yes, hindsight is a wonderful thing – but if you keep up to date with planned maintenance for office facilities – including air conditioning, come summer it will actually work! Talking of air conditioning – if you have it, keep windows closed…it’s easy to think let’s open a window, but it will stop air conditioning units working effectively. If you don’t have air conditioning, that’s different. Open all the windows to allow air circulation and invest in a couple of electric operated oscillating fans (just keep your important paper work away from them!)

5) Turn the lights off

It’s not dark, it’s sunny – so wherever you can turn lights off – you’ll notice the difference. PCs, printers, photocopiers, lights, servers, they all generate excess heat.  Turn off non-essential electrical items to reduce the amount of heat in the office. Lights generate a lot of heat – so turn them off.  It might sound like an odd way to motivate and keep staff cool but it works!

Why is it important to keep staff motivated and cool during a heatwave?

Evidence shows that as heat rises so does absenteeism. Summer sickies on Mondays and Fridays, in particular rise with staff feeling less motivated to face the commute and a long day in the office.  Therefore, it’s very important to keeping the office cool, consider flexible working arrangements and opt for more casual dress. You’d rather a staff member come in early and work their hours and more importantly deliver their objectives over calling in sick (which can cause further demotivation in the office if other staff members have to pick up the slack!)

So, in a nutshell switch off the lights, run to the local shop and stock up on ice creams and be flexible.

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