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The cost of a heatwave: are your employees less productive?

A recent study carried out by Voucher Codes Pro revealed that a whopping 74% of employees polled felt their productivity had decreased in the recent heatwave. Reasons included headaches, eagerness to leave work, hayfever, sunburn, and generally Feeling Too Hot. Not just this – 14% confessed they had pulled a sickie in order to enjoy the weather.

However, skiving alone costs businesses a staggering £272m – and that doesn’t account for the loss of productivity that’s inevitable when your employees are sweaty and miserable. So what can you do to keep your employees fresh – and, most importantly, present?

Be flexible

Commuting can be miserable for your employees in sweltering heat; there are better ways to start the day than pressed up inside someone’s armpit in 35-degree heat on the tube, melting. Letting employees work from home helps them avoid stressful commuting during the summer and can also help them be more comfortable during the working day.

Also consider letting people adjust their hours if they’re anxious to get away in the afternoon for a bit of sunshine or to watch a sporting event. Finishing even an hour earlier or allowing an extended lunch break can be a great morale boost for your employees and can limit the impact of people pulling a sickie so they can watch the cricket in the pub.

Kick the dress code

Being in a full suit while the sun is beating down is its own specific kind of torture. Relax your dress codes and let your employees wear more summer-appropriate attire, if possible. Even if your dress code is normally formal, short-sleeve shirts, chinos, city shorts and pretty summer dresses look professional yet are way more comfortable.

Be considerate

If you want to get the most from your employees, it’s important that you take responsibility for the office environment. Ensure there’s plenty of fresh water (if you don’t have a water cooler, buy a hefty supply of bottled water), and take steps to ensure that the temperature is comfortable. If you don’t have air conditioning, invest in a fan and keep all windows open.

Ensure you also have a good supply of hayfever and painkillers for those headaches and sniffles so that your employees don’t have to battle through a migraine or eyes so swollen by pollen that they can barely see their spreadsheets.

Treat your employees

Nobody likes working when the sun is blazing outside and all the nearby offices seem to have sacked off to the park. Little things such as buying everyone ice-creams can really perk up the atmosphere. Maybe even announce an unexpected early finish one day so that you can all go to the pub. It’s good for morale and a way to break up a tedious and boiling hot day – let’s face it, you don’t want to be in the office either.

Get into the spirit

The best way you can keep people in the office is by making it fun. Install a child’s sandpit at the front of the office! Play summer sporting matches on the office television or on a laptop in the background so people are updated with the score! Serve tropical cocktails on a Friday afternoon! Decamp to a nearby coffee shop so everyone can work from outside tables! There are heaps of quirky ways to make working in the summer a bit more enjoyable – and they’ll pay dividends in staff morale.

What are your best tips for productive working in the summer? Let us know in the comments below!