The Importance of Keeping Staff Cool – or Warm
The British climate is one of the most changeable in the world, so it can be difficult to predict what the temperatures will be from day to day or from week to week. To aid company productivity, small businesses need to ensure that their staff can work in comfortable conditions.
As a specialist provider of fully serviced office space in more than 30 locations across the UK, Basepoint takes a keen interest in all issues affecting SMEs. Here we look at the current legislation surrounding temperature in the workplace and the steps business owners can take to make sure their staff are neither too hot nor too cold.
What are the Regulations?
The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 mean that employers need to provide a ‘reasonable’ temperature in the workplace. The Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) suggests a minimum temperature in workrooms should normally be at least 16°C or 13°C if much of the work indoors is particularly physical.
There is, however, no maximum temperature, as this may be affected by external factors; for example, the nature of the work or the amount of clothes being worn for the particular role.
Studies generally show that computer or typing-related work is best carried out between 21-23°C. If the temperature is above that productivity can drop – by as much as 10% if it is over 30°C.
Lay on Creature Comforts
It is vital to provide a water cooler supplied with fresh water for your staff. Also, make sure you have adequate tea and coffee-making facilities on your premises. On particularly hot days, consider sending out someone on a trip for ice lollies and ice creams, which shows your workforce that you care about their comfort and happiness.
The recent ‘Beast from the East’ snowstorm seemed to catch a lot of people unprepared; many people couldn’t get to work, and those who did probably weren’t especially happy about working in a cold environment. If it is particularly cold, ensure the working environment has extra heaters so everyone is comfortable, but make sure that the air inside doesn’t become too stuffy or stagnant.
Dressing Up or Down
Clothing is one of the most important factors in comfort when the weather is too hot or too cold. When the weather is at an extreme, employers should consider relaxing the dress code, if you have one. For example, don’t insist on male employees wearing a collar and tie if it is particularly warm.
Vary the Working Hours
Think about allowing periodic rest breaks at the most appropriate times, for example, longer lunch breaks if that is when the sun is at its warmest – and consider letting staff work from home when the weather is exceptionally bad.
Basepoint have a range of services for our members to take advantage of when you or your staff can’t make it into your Basepoint fully serviced office space because of extreme weather. These include a manned reception which can take messages during business hours and the ability to receive and sign for parcels and deliveries in your absence.
Make Staff Feel Valued
It is important to ensure that your employees always know what you are doing and why. Treat everyone as individuals and when it is hotter than normal, make sure those who can tolerate heat better sit in the warmer areas of the office.
Be aware that pregnant women and older people may be more susceptible to extremes of temperature, so you may have to make special arrangements for them.
Basepoint – Fully Managed Serviced Offices
Basepoint has temperature-controlled modern office centres in over 30 locations across southern England, the Midlands, East Anglia and Wales.
Every company based at one of our fully serviced office spaces has the independence of their own business unit with the benefits of managed workspace facilities and serviced offices, such as franking, photocopying, reception services and on-site management. Basepoint also offers the use of meeting rooms, communal break-out areas for refreshments and virtual offices.
Give Basepoint a call today to discuss your company’s requirements on 020 8068 9158.
Source: Basepoint Blog