EMPLOYERS URGED TO HELP WORKERS KEEP THEIR COOL CIPD Ireland says staying flexible is key to managing staff needs during hot weather
CIPD Ireland is urging employers to be flexible around working arrangements as temperatures rise in the coming days. The advice from the professional body for HR and Learning & Development comes amid reports that the mercury could reach over 30 degrees by early next week.
Ireland has no upper temperature limit when it comes to working conditions, but the Health and Safety Authority recognises that “an acceptable temperature for office work lies within the range of 18 - 23 degrees”*. It also highlights that a thermometer should be available if a worker wants to check the temperature.
Ireland’s changed employment landscape means workers are now based in a wide variety of environments - in the workplace itself, a remote working hub, their own homes, or elsewhere. Director of CIPD Ireland Mary Connaughton says a flexible approach is the wise choice: “People’s health and safety must be a priority as always, and although the high temperatures are only expected to be with us for a few days, it’s worth being prepared.”
Mary’s suggesting a number of areas where efforts can be made to keep workers comfortable:
- In desk-based work, you may have people who prefer the air conditioned environment of the workplace, and some who find they’re more comfortable and productive working from home with all of their windows open, so try to facilitate this, within reason.
- Starting and finishing earlier may be an option for some, while others might prefer to do some work in the cool of the evening.
- Work environments should be arranged to minimise any excessive effects of sunlight, such as using blinds, adjustment of workspace layouts, etc
- If a business has a set uniform for workers, consider relaxing it to suit the temperatures.
- Warm weather can affect concentration levels, which can be a real concern if someone is operating heavy machinery - so this must be assessed on-site.
Mary says “This is a chance to allow flexible work practices do what they’re designed for, and adapt to the conditions at any particular point in time. We’ve become better at drawing on this resource in recent years so it’s worth keeping that in mind in the coming days”.