As you can probably guess, this is being written from a stifling UK office, on the #hottestdayoftheyear with plug-in fans spinning and windows ajar. For us Brits who are usually accustomed to sipping countless cups of milky tea in attempts to fend off the frosty temperatures we experience for 80% of the year, this scorcher of a summer is rather out of the ordinary. While its picnic paradise and nothing but a joy over the weekend, a heatwave can spell serious trouble when it comes to surviving in the office.
Swivel chairs that are usually great during the mid-afternoon lag when your concentration has started to dwindle now feel as though someone has snuck into the office and smeared a layer of PVA glue all over them. Your regular coffee breaks that normally exist to keep you sane throughout the day now push you those final degrees towards the edge of insanity. Your neighbouring colleague who relentlessly taps a pen against the edge of their desk and mildly irritates you is now in the firing line for a vicious attack as your blood quite literally boils. These are the real joys of UK heatwaves as an office worker so we’re here to offer some friendly first-hand advice to help you keep your cool this summer.
Stay hydrated – Come on guys, you know you should be sipping your way through at least six glasses of water every day, whatever the weather but it’s particularly crucial during a heatwave. Not getting enough liquid will cause headaches, fatigue and a compromised level of productivity. Maintaining optimum levels of hydration during high temperature requires more H2O so make sure you’re sinking a large glass of the stuff every couple of hours and avoid caffeine and this can boost body temperature.
Expose your extremities – No, we don’t mean abandon clothes all together and sit there starkers. Get your mind out of the gutter! We’re talking about heads, hands, feet and toes. Think about it – we cover up our heads with hats, hands with gloves and feet with extra woolly socks during the winter months to stop any heat escaping so reversing the process when temperatures rise is an effective way to stay cool.
Steer clear of any unnecessary head gear and opt for more open footwear, as long as your workplace uniform policy allows it. We don’t want you getting in trouble on our account! If rules are stringent, slip your shoes off under the desk and allow some air to those tootsies.
If it’s not in use, switch it off – An office environment usual means the simultaneous use of lots of computers, printers, fax machines and other heat-inducing appliances that can significantly add to the rising temperature in the room. While there is lots of busy bodies flying around the office, going about their daily duties, try and remember to switch of any machines or appliances that aren’t being used to eliminate any unnecessary sources of heat.