Running a business in the summer months can be extra exhausting, especially if you live in regions where temperatures can really shoot up.
Just as we prepare for the coming winter or the rainy season, we also need to prepare for summer. A good business always looks after their employees’ welfare, and ensuring that your staff is prepared for the summer heat is part of that.
First things first: office temperature. Regardless of the season, your place of business should be a comfortable place to work in. You and your staff spend a huge chunk of their lives in the office, and conditions must enable you all to perform your tasks safely and comfortably.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends that office temperatures are kept between 68 to 76 degrees Fahrenheit, with humidity control within the range of 20% to 60%. That’s hard to maintain when temperatures can reach the high 90s during the workday.
This is why it’s important to check if your air-conditioning system is up and running. If it’s been in disrepair due to being unused in the colder winter months, now is the time to have your AC repaired. If you don’t have air-conditioning in your workplace, consider having one installed. While waiting, you could use electric fans or air circulators to keep the air flowing. Granted that buying an air-conditioner is beyond your budget, you should at least check to see if your workspace has ample circulation (which is also essential in preventing the spread of viruses).
In some regions, the sun can be really harsh during the summer months, which can threaten the health and well-being of people who work outdoors. Depending, of course, on the nature of your work, it might be impossible to keep your employees indoors. For those working in agriculture or theme parks, it would be difficult to require your staff to stay in the shade at all times.
The OSHA has laid out a pretty comprehensive guide on how to manage this. Depending on the risk level and a heat index, they have outlined precautionary measures that you can take to ensure the safety and well-being of your outdoor staff. As always, the safety of your workforce is a top priority.
The water cooler has been an iconic part of any workplace. Like a watering hole in the wild, it’s where co-workers often find themselves gathering to make small talk and blow off steam.
Blowing off steam and staying hydrated is no more important than during hot summer days. To help your staff feel even more refreshed, you could also provide a small refrigerator or freezer where they can keep cold drinks and some ice cubes.
As an added treat, you could create Popsicle Wednesdays, where you give your staff some iced treats to help stave off the sometimes-unbearable heat. It’s not only great for their physical well-being; it’s also a great morale booster to carry them through the Hump Day and the rest of the workweek. Remember, the best way to get exemplary performance from your workforce is by making them happy to be where they are.
Jumping off of your Popsicle Wednesdays, another great way to keep your staff going through these warm, humid, and scorching months is by allowing them to let loose a bit. Now is not the time for unnecessary pressure and tension. The weather will already do that for you. At the moment, what’s in order is a more freeing, more relaxed work environment that would keep heads cool.
Perhaps you could institute a special day wherein your staff can wear more summery, lightweight clothes. If your work isn’t compromised by it, perhaps you could let them wear sandals occasionally. It would be close to cruelty to require someone to wear a suit and tie in the oppressive heat.
Understand that, during the summer months, people are likely going to want to file for their vacation leaves. With school out, this is the chance for many workers to take time off and spend it with their families. Anticipate this to ensure that these leaves are scheduled accordingly, to avoid overlapping, to allow everyone a chance to take a break.
Summer often evokes rest, but for most people, the work goes on. The important thing is to ensure that while we’re all business as usual, we are prepared to protect our workforce from the seasonal changes that come.