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Dennis Flower explores working in a heatwave

At the time of writing the UK national media is continuing to devote considerable numbers of column inches to the record high temperatures being seen around the country and in many areas of Europe.

Although there is increasing appreciation of the benefits of wellbeing and agile working around the business world, many employees find it strange that there is no clearly defined maximum temperature which should not be exceeded within the workplace.

There is, of course, a common sense approach that should be followed during excessively hot weather and responsible employers should be doing their best to support and promote practices to keep workers as comfortable as possible.

There’s no hard and fast rule regarding working in high temperature

Dennis Flower PfM Dennis Flower Editor of Premises & Facilities Management

Air conditioning

This will be made considerably easier in facilities that have air conditioning installed, although the fact that these are being required to work considerably harder than usual means that issues are more likely to emerge, although extra vigilance from those charged with their maintenance should help to provide early indication of potential issues.

Facilities without air-conditioning may well have other means of temperature control, possibly including the use of natural ventilation, solar shading or others, which should help to prevent heat levels from rising to an uncomfortable level, although the question remains as to what this is.

Work with staff

With no hard and fast rule regarding working in high temperature, it is imperative that employers work with their staff to help them continue to work as productively as possible, which could include flexible hours, working remotely or allowing staff to work in areas of the building where temperature levels are lower.

The focus on wellbeing throughout the FM sector is highly relevant in this instance, emphasising the benefit of ensuring all workers are provided with facilities where they can work comfortably and perform to the best of their abilities.

Another aspect of this is that it provides building services providers of all types with the opportunity of working more closely with their clients to achieve the desired outcomes that will see their services regarded as valuable and – where this is applied successfully – indispensable, which can have further beneficial results when the service contract is due for renewal.

Dennis Flower is editor of Premises and Facilities Management (PfM) magazine