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Ellina Webb discusses summer workwear options to help you stay comfortable both outside in the heat and inside a cool air conditioned office.

As the summer heat rolls in, maintaining a comfortable working environment becomes increasingly important. Balancing your body temperature and staying cool is not only essential for your overall well-being but also for your productivity.

So, if you're looking for ways to beat the heat and make your office a cool oasis, we've got you covered. In this article, we'll explore practical tips and tricks to help you keep cool and stay focused during the sweltering summer months.

1. Embrace Air Conditioning

If your office has air conditioning, ensure it is functioning properly and set at a comfortable temperature. Communicate with colleagues or facility management to address any temperature-related concerns. A well-regulated air conditioning system can significantly enhance productivity by keeping you cool and focused. 

The world is changing, it’s getting hotter and our expectations of comfortable environments are getting even more precise. In fact, by 2050 the demands for cooling are likely to triple, so the next step is to make sure the air conditioning systems we use are the ones best suited to protecting our planet - after all it’s an even bigger privilege that we get to live here!

Natural lighting, good quality indoor air and premium systems that can intelligently heat and cool our spaces are swiftly becoming essential requirements.

Not only that, but working in these soon to be ‘basic standards’ to achieving healthy buildings, has so far proven to make occupants more productive, more alert and even happier – as Danny Bluestone, CEO of our digital agency Cyberduck noted before he installed air conditioning in his Elstree offices.

Therefore, taking a bit of time to consider the comfort of your clothing choices seems like a good idea to me (especially if you don’t have access to the air con controller!) - And if your current building air conditioning isn’t up to standard, here are a few good choices to consider too.

2. Choose Summer Outfits 

Start by choosing lightweight and breathable clothing made of natural fabrics like cotton or linen. Opt for loose-fitting garments that allow air circulation and help wick away moisture from your skin. Additionally, consider keeping a spare set of fresh clothes at the office to change into if needed.

If you work outside though, it’s very important to ensure you cover your shoulders and wear fabrics which are suitably loose (to allow for air flow) durable and keep you safe - as I spoke about in my previous article here which discusses how to keep cool when out on-site. 

A lot of modern and innovate fabrics available nowadays also incorporate elements of mesh and other breathable perforated materials. AIRism by Uniqlo for example uses a smart comfort conditioning technology fabric which releases heat and moisture in order to adapt to any weather condition.

3. Stay hydrated

One of the most crucial aspects of staying cool is proper hydration. Keep a water bottle at your desk and sip on water throughout the day. You can also include hydrating fruits and vegetables like watermelon, cucumbers, and citrus fruits in your snacks to increase your water intake. Avoid excessive consumption of caffeinated beverages and sugary drinks, as they can dehydrate you. 

4. Don’t forget about the accessories

It goes without saying that outside in the summer months, a decent hat, sunglasses and appropriate footwear is very important. Inside the office, accessories are also an important factor to consider – and these aren’t just limited to clothing. If your office dress code is casual, a sandal is a summer staple, this year the “dad sandal” is proving to be the most popular style across the genders (hurrah! the Velcro sandal is no longer limited to dads or tourists).

Breathable trainers and plimsolls are also ideal for the casual environment, or if you work in a corporate environment, while it might be hard to move away from a leather shoe, you could look at changing your socks to breathable cotton (M&S have a decent range) or using cooling gel insoles.

Other great accessories to keep you at a comfortable temperature in the office include a thermal water bottle – which also allows you to keep your hot drinks hot if the air con gets a bit chilly! And of course a smart watch allows you to keep track of your body temperature so you can head to a hotter/cooler space if your levels rise or fall.

5. Take Regular Breaks

Remember to take short breaks to cool down and refresh yourself. Step outside for a few minutes to enjoy the natural breeze or find a shaded area nearby. Stretching or engaging in a quick physical activity during breaks can also help improve blood circulation and regulate body temperature.

Final thoughts

Preparing for a summer workwear wardrobe might seem a bit silly, but putting the sniggers aside, preparation is key, especially when it comes to avoiding heat stress and other temperature related problems.

Choosing a lighter and more breathable fabric might seem obvious, but the point is that comfort is a growing requirement when it comes to health and happiness and we all have more control and influence over our comfort levels than we might think.

Not all buildings benefit from air conditioning, but even if yours does, wearing the right clothing can actually help your company rely on cooling a bit less. And by choosing the right clothing options, you can keep cool but also protect yourself from any chilly draughts (of course a modern air con system will minimise this).

Ellina Webb is Marketing Services Manager at Mitsubishi Electric