Getting through working in the summer months!
It is well known that although the UK does not have months of warm, sunny days and barmy nights during the summer, there are bursts of this weather which appear to throw a lot of people off track. Last minute holiday requests, increased absence, debates about what you can wear and the inevitable question of what is the highest temperature you can work under. The answer to that question is that there is no legal maximum temperature, but there are things you can do as a business to support your employees and manage the heat.
• Increase in holiday requests
This time of the year is the lead up to school holidays and childcare arrangements need to be made. Do you have a holiday procedure in place? What does your policy say? Encourage employees to put in holiday requests as soon as possible and treat every request fairly. There will no doubt be overlapping requests, can your business handle this?
• Unauthorised absence.
With the increase in holidays there may be a higher risk of employees of falling ill whilst away and may not be able to return to work when they are scheduled. Do you have a procedure in place that addresses this?
It may be that employees are more likely to take a day off if it is going to have a warm, sunny day. Have you seen increased absences on a Monday after a warm weekend? Consider whether you require any medical certificates for the absence.
An increase in sporting events in the summer months may affect absence in the workplace, are you prepared?
In any event, investigation will be key and consideration should be taken whether the disciplinary procedure should be followed. If in doubt, get in touch!
• Flexible working arrangements.
Think about flexible working requests for those parents to cover school holidays.
Beautiful weather in the UK cannot be relied upon and doesn’t land perfectly on a weekend on bank holiday. Employers should take this opportunity to enhance their employee engagement and if business permits reward staff with an early finish or a longer lunch time.
Perhaps allow those who come in to work earlier to avoid the busy commute and being cooped in their hot transport. It is the little things that make a difference.
• Keep cool.
It is important in warmer conditions to keep hydrated, ensure staff have access to water. Do you have a fan or an air conditioning unit? Open windows and close blinds where possible. Consider those employees who are required to carry out physical activity and what can be done to support them. Is water readily available? IT equipment can generate heat, is there an option to turn these off when not in use?
• Dress Code
It is advisable that loose clothing is worn during warm weather. Are your employees required to wear PPE or a uniform? Agree what is acceptable with your employees, it will be important that communication is effective in any event. Be aware of any possible resentment for those who have to wear PPE or uniform, what alternatives are available to them? Be mindful of those in customer facing roles too.
Advise your employees on how they can contribute to minimise disruption in the summer months and encourage their involvement. If you do have any concerns or queries on how you should handle these situations please contact one of our HR Specialists on 0161 478 3800 or [email protected] on a confidential basis.