Have you ever noticed how hard it is to focus on what you’re doing whenever the temperature gets too hot or even too cold?
Striking a balance in an office environment to keep all employees satisfied is one of the most difficult tasks in workplace management. It is reported that 80% of office workers complain about the temperature of their workplace and an unsatisfied employee is unlikely to be a productive one.
With temperatures recently reaching a high of 32°C, some employees are happier than others about the mini heat wave sweeping the UK. Extremely high temperatures within the workplace are not only uncomfortable, but can be dangerous with 50% of offices being considered too hot in the summer.
What rights do I have if it’s too hot in the office?
Employees have a right to go home if the temperature drops below 16°C, but there is not currently a law that sets a maximum temperature limit. Unions have called for it to be illegal to make staff work if the temperature inside is above 30°C but no law has been taken into effect.
Bosses should ensure their workers have access to water and monitor their wellbeing in hot weather, according to HSE guidelines.
If you’re a vulnerable employee – for example pregnant or menopausal, or you need to wear protective equipment so can’t take off layers – that has to be taken into account.
The HSE says: “If a significant number of employees are complaining about thermal discomfort, your employer should carry out a risk assessment, and act on the results of that assessment.”
So if you’re uncomfortable, tell your boss and if enough people complain they have to act, although that doesn’t necessarily mean you can go home.