As the mercury rises for another short-lived British heatwave, we surveyed 200 office workers to find out how the heat impacted their productivity.

Research found that 90% of UK office workers feel less productive when it’s too hot in the office, with 44% moving away from their desks to counteract the heat.

Let's look at where respondents said they'd go when the mercury rises:

  • 72% would move to a cooler part of the office
  • 23% would go to a meeting room
  • 50% would leave the office altogether
  • 26% would work from home
  • 19% would base themselves in a café
  • 11% would head straight to their local pub!

It’s quite clear that a change in office temperature outside of the norm can greatly impact productivity. The fact that half of our respondents say they would leave the office implies a break in collaboration and team cohesion during hot periods. This break in cohesion and lack of productivity can really impact a business, but there are ways employers can prevent this from happening. 

It’s about choice and engagement

Providing infrastructure for flexible working enables your staff to work in different environments; like an outdoor terrace, balcony or veranda. We’re not saying that you’ll need to convert a roof terrace into a dedicated new workspace - it could be as simple as investing in a WiFi booster and a bench for your current outdoor area. This will provide a boost to employee engagement, as they're able to choose their work environment and get the natural health benefits of vitamin D on sunnier days.

From desktop fans to dusty air-conditioners, British offices aren’t always the most equipped to deal with the heat. The survey also asked what employers are doing to counteract the heat; almost two thirds of respondents said that they have fans or air conditioning, half said they have windows which open, 37% are given a more relaxed dress code, while 33% are provided iced drinks or ice cream.

Implementing a dress-down policy or providing frozen treats frames the summer workday as an experience, rather than just another day in the office. This will help address summer absenteeism, as your staff will be more inclined to come into the office, knowing that something special will happen.

Wellbeing plays a major role in ensuring staff don’t lose their cool on a hot day – a simple thing relaxing dress codes can create a more comfortable environment. We all know how short-lived a British summer can be, so make sure your team can appreciate every moment!