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When the heatwave hits (but you have to go to work)

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Lizzie Tasker Blog

The Great British summertime – the time of year where it either seems to rain for days on end or reach uncomfortably hot temperatures - with very little of the in-between!

With June 2023 already declared as a heatwave, there’s set to be more hot weather on the way.

And let’s face it - we’re just not as well equipped to deal with the sudden soar in temperature as some of our friends over in Europe.

Far be it for us to complain about the sunshine, but when it reaches the extreme it can make going about our daily lives a little bit more tricky – especially when working in an office.

Here’s everything you need to know about working in the heat…


It’s a common misconception that it’s set out in legislation if it gets to a certain temperature you don’t have to be at work. This isn’t the case. Instead, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) state that temperatures in all workplaces – including those working from home – must be reasonable.

It's getting hot in here...

Obviously, if you’re lucky enough have air-con available, this is going to make a huge difference. Just make sure it’s in working order, ready for when you need it.

And if you don’t, then fans – either standalone or individual plug-in varieties are a handy way to stay comfortable.

Just make sure someone remembers to turn them off when you go home for the evening!

Keeping blinds closed throughout the day can also help keep inside temperatures down.

Dress code

Whilst there’s no obligation to, reasonable employers may be inclined to relax any dress codes in place during periods of particularly hot weather. Light, breathable natural fabrics are key.

Stay hydrated

Even while working inside away from direct sunlight, it’s always important to make sure you’re taking on enough fluids. Heatwave or not, employers must ensure staff have access to drinking water.

Getting to work

It’s worth remembering that public transport can often be affected in extreme temperatures – be sure to speak to your employer to advise them of any potential issues or lateness as soon as you can. For those travelling to work by car, it can be uncomfortable returning to a hot car that’s been stood in the sun all day – park in the shade if you can, or it might be worth investing in a windshield.

Vulnerable people

For some, a heatwave can be more difficult to manage. The elderly, those with health conditions or pregnant people can be more adversely affected. Employers should work with people on an individual basis to ensure they can remain safe and comfortable.