Summer Workplace Issues for Employers

As the temperature soars and the days are lighter and longer it naturally presents different hurdles in the workplace. We’ve had some enquiries from clients on situations that arise from seasonal changes so have decided to put together some quick tips to help you negotiate the (potential) minefield of happy, hot days and ensure your staff don’t become grumpy and irritated by the end of the summer.

1. Be Clear About Your Annual Leave Policies

At the peak time for employees to take holidays, clarify your process. Normally it is granted on a first come, first serve basis but if for example you have two people asking for the same weeks at the same time then further consideration should be given regarding any previous holiday already taken, the nature of their jobs and whether they can be covered in the specified time. Employers are entitled to turn down requests for annual leave, but need to give sufficient notice (twice the period requested). Long weekend? If the forecast is promising, members of staff may request annual leave at short notice. As before, the normal requirement is twice the time requested – so two days’ notice for one day extra at the weekend. Different businesses are likely to have different policies depending on seasonality, just make sure yours are clear to all your employees.

2. Be A Little More Relaxed About Your Dress Code

If employees are comfortable and cool in their clothes, then they’re likely to be more productive. You may want to advise staff that during the warmer weeks of the summer then they can wear t-shirts, shorts (specify length) or open toed sandals. This policy will of course vary depending on the work involved and the environment (ie protective clothing cannot be relaxed also customer facing roles will need to remain professional but there may be tweaks you could suggest in both cases).

3. Do What You Can To Improve Your Working Environment

Ensure that employees have a cool working environment (or as cool as possible), windows are opened, fans or air-conditioning introduced or blinds added to keep the sun out of particular hot spots. If there are cooler spots for staff to work – move your office around to make sure everyone is comfortable. There is no maximum working temperature but the HSE advice is that it should be reasonable and that 30c/86F is the ‘upper end of comfort’.

4. Make The Most of The Weather To Motivate Your Team

If it’s 4pm on a Friday afternoon and you’ve all had a long hot week, buy some ice-creams or take everyone for a cooling drink. The heat can put some under more pressure than others so try and ease the tension – remind everyone that working through the summer is not so bad after all!

If you’d like further advice on creating your own Summer Workplace Policies, we’d be happy to help. Call us on 01386 751740 or email [email protected]