High temperatures can make working a challenge so it’s important for employers to prepare. Kate Palmer, HR Advice and Consultancy Director at Peninsula said: “It’s a common misconception that there is a legal maximum workplace temperature. This means that employers are under no obligation to send staff home during a heatwave so many workplaces will remain open.
“However, heat can be dangerous, and employers have a duty of care to make the workplace safe for all. This includes providing suitable drinking water and taking extra care of older or pregnant employees who may be more susceptible to heat. It may help to give extra breaks during the day so that staff can cool off and avoid becoming dehydrated.
“Annual leave requests seem to pile up once the weather gets better. This short heat wave is set to hit on Friday meaning many may want the day off to make the most of the weekend. It’s important that you don’t leave yourself understaffed so check your annual leave caps prior to accepting any requests.
“When an employee calls in sick when the weather is good it can be easy to jump to conclusion, but don’t assume that every absence is fake.
“Continue your usual absence management procedures and if you have some concerns consider asking employees to call in rather than text or email. Make sure that all absences are recorded so that you can look for patterns in case some employees have a habit of calling in sick whenever the weather heats up.
“In extreme heat, train lines can buckle which can cause some employees to be late or unable to get to work at all. It’s best to prepare for this eventuality and have a procedure in place should the worst happen. Consider all your options. Is it possible for this employee to work from home, take short notice leave or time off in lieu?
“High temperatures can cause a slump in productivity, so think of ways to make the heat more manageable. It may help to relax dress codes or keep the blinds down the night before, so your workplace is shaded from the early morning sunlight.
“Rewarding staff with iced treats and cold drinks can keep staff morale high and you may want to consider running an incentive for an early finish to really boost productivity.
“Now would be a good time to check that your aircon is fully functioning, if not you better act quick to avoid sweltering conditions.”