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UK Weather News

6 tips on staying cool while working in a heatwave

2024 has had a pretty wet start to the year - but that looks set to change. 


Forecasters at the Met Office and the Weather Outlook predict that temperatures could reach as much as 30C in June. They also suggest that: “from June 8th to 22nd, temperatures have more chance of being above the average at this time of year."

  • Temperatures have hit 30C and above this week as a mini-heatwave hits the UK

  • The Met Office has warned that heatwaves in the UK are now 30 times more likely due to climate change.

  • Searches for “When is the next UK heatwave 2024” have jumped by a staggering 669% in May as people try to prepare

  • Working during high temperatures is something the UK “must address as a matter of urgency” says health and safety expert, Cate Walter

The Weather Outlook has also said that 30C temperatures could hit in June. Forecaster Brian Gaze said: "June looks settled to start with and is forecast several fine spells, with bursts of very warm weather and potentially reaching 30C for the first time this year.”


The jump in temperature mirrors the weather from June last year. After a wet start, temperatures hit 32.2°C in June 2023. 2022 still holds the record for the hottest day on record in the UK, with temperatures reaching 40.3C during the infamous July heatwave.


Forecasters have also warned that heatwaves will be increasingly more common in the UK as a result of climate change. The Met Office has warned that heatwaves in the UK are now 30 times more likely due to climate change. 

It’s an issue that people across the UK are definitely aware of. Searches for questions like “When is the next UK heatwave 2024” have jumped by a staggering 669% between May 12th-31st according to Google Trends as people try to prepare for temperatures to rise. 


While the hot weather offers lots of opportunities for fun in the sun, it can also pose significant challenges for workers and employers across the UK. 


Workplace temperature is a hotly contested topic at the best of times. Although the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations require employers to provide a reasonable indoor temperature in the workplace, There is currently no law for maximum working temperatures in the UK. 


When heatwaves set in, staying cool and comfortable while working becomes a top priority for employees. Whether you're working in a physical office or from the confines of your home, the scorching temperatures can affect productivity and well-being. 

Rhino Safety

Cate Walter, Director of health and safety consultancy Rhino Safety says that Working in warm temperatures can be difficult, but the year-on-year changes we’re seeing in the UK can pose major challenges now and in the future. 


“For employers, the lack of clarity on maximum working temperatures can make it difficult to create a safe and comfortable working environment. It’s not just about ensuring employees remain productive, but staying safe during working hours.”


“When it comes to employees, working in high temperatures can be incredibly daunting. Without guidelines millions of workers may end up working in conditions that are not only uncomfortable but could also be hazardous.” 

“Until the government steps in to determine a maximum working temperature, communication is essential to make sure that everyone remains safe. With temperatures increasing year on year, this is a critical health and safety issue that we need to address as a matter of urgency to ensure worker safety across the UK.” 


But what can employees do when temperatures are high? 


Cate says “Each workplace is unique and will have its own challenges when it comes to staying cool. But here are a few things that employees can do to stay cool and comfortable during the working day”.

Dress down where possible 

“Wearing traditional business and work clothing can be unbearable in high heat. Dressing down can be a great way to cool down.  If your workplace allows, dress down in more casual and casual clothing. If this isn’t a regular thing, talk to your boss - they may be willing to relax the rules given the circumstances.”


“This might not be possible in all workplaces. Instead, employers should make sure that employees have regular breaks to be able to freshen up and cool down”. 

Stay hydrated

“Staying hydrated is often a challenge on normal workdays, but on hot ones it’s essential. Dehydration can make us feel dizzy, tired and disorientated, which can cause further health concerns.”


Make sure you’re taking regular hydration breaks. Employees must have access and freedom to drink whenever they need to. Keep a water bottle close to hand and take every chance to top up.”


Reduce your caffeine intake 

“This might not be the advice you want, but stop drinking so much coffee - it’ll only raise your body temperature. Swapping tea/coffee runs with water runs can make a huge difference. If you really need the caffeine hit, swap hot beverages out for cold versions, but try to limit how much you drink. Make sure to drink water regularly, not just caffeinated options.”  


Work flexibly where possible 

“Many businesses have implemented flexible working options in recent years. If this is an option, ask for a temporary increase in remote and hybrid working days. This can help reduce commuting time and ensure you’re able to work in a comfortable environment. 


If hybrid options aren’t an option, speak to your employer about adjusting work hours. This could include adapting work hours or adding more regular breaks during the day to make sure everyone has ample time to decompress and cool down.”

Change your workspace


“Employers should be prepared to make changes to create a safe and reasonable workspace. This could include anything from adding fans to improve airflow, to creating shaded spaces and moving workspaces where needed.     

“Work with managers to create a workspace that works for you and your co-workers. Request the chance to add changes that will help you feel more comfortable and productive. As long as they don’t impact health and safety then you should be good to go.” 


Get cold refreshments regularly

“Cold treats can be a great way to help everyone cool down during a hot work day. Vacuum-insulated stainless steel water bottles can be a great way to keep ice cold drinks to hand to help cool down.”


“If you have access to a staff room, talk to management about adding some cold treats such as drinks, ice lollies and ice cream to keep on hand. This can not only help keep everyone cool but can also be a great way to encourage regular breaks.” 

Turn off non-essential machines 


“Machines produce a lot of heat, which can make hot ambient temperatures even worse to contend with.  Extra PCS, printers, photocopiers, servers, lights - it all adds up. Where possible, turn off any machines that aren’t strictly required to be on. 


This can not help reduce temperatures and also helps reduce energy consumption during warmer summer months, which is better for businesses in the long run. Stick to using equipment you really need to complete tasks.”


Go easy on yourself 

“We all want to stay at our most productive, but this can be incredibly difficult during hot days. High temperatures can leave us feeling drained and can affect our concentration. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself if you’re not operating at peak performance.  


“Good managers will recognise that temperatures can affect productivity. Communicate with your boss and keep them updated on how you’re getting on with tasks. Be upfront if you’re struggling and work with them to find an effective solution to manage your workload.” 

Cate Walter, Director of Health and Safety Consultancy
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