Working from home safely during a heatwave
August 18 2022 - In the UK, there are legal regulations in place to guarantee a secure and comfortable working environment for all employees. This implies that if you don't have air conditioning, working from home may be difficult and not safe. There are a few techniques to make working from home in hotter weather more safe and productive for employees.
Taking regular breaks, especially accompanied with a drink is a good habit to maintain when working in warmer temperatures. This has been proved to enhance work productivity, helping you work to your full capacity and maintain motivation.
Make sure that you have dressed for the weather, and are wearing light and breathable fabrics whilst trying to avoid dark colours as they can absorb more heat.
Comfort is key, and clothing items such as shorts or skirts with lightweight tops are ideal for helping you regulate your body temperature.
Employers are required to supply employees with safe drinking water at work, with many going the extra mile to also provide fruit, tea and coffee. Make sure that you continue this at home - workers should aim to keep a chilled bottle of water on their desk to encourage regular drinking throughout the day. Not only is good hydration essential for our health but is key to improving cognitive function and decision making.
Keeping the house as cool as possible
Try to keep the house as cool as possible, to avoid getting heat stroke or overheating. This can be done by keeping blinds and curtains closed, as well as opening windows to allow fresh air to circulate. If you regularly work from home, it may be worthwhile to invest in a fan to help you feel more comfortable at your desk.
Actively keeping your body cool
There are a number of things you can do to lower your body temperature. An effective method is to apply cool water to the skin which can be in the form of a lukewarm bath, a cool shower, or even a cold flannel on the back of your neck.
Applying cold compresses to specific areas of the body where veins are closer to the surface (wrists, neck, chest) can have a fast-acting effect in helping you to regulate your body temperature.
When to seek help
It is just as important to recognise signs of overheating which can lead to problems such as heatstroke and heat exhaustion.
Earlier signs of illness are dizziness and a feeling of stiffness or pain in the muscles. Although this doesn’t require medical attention, it is vital that you prioritise cooling down and rehydrating your body.
More serious problems can include nausea and vomiting, fainting, and even seizures which are signs of heatstroke and heat exhaustion and should be treated by a medical professional as soon as possible.