The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) is encouraging employers to consider flexible working arrangements to help employees stay comfortable during hot weather.

This recommendation comes amid rising temperatures, highlighting the need for prioritising health and safety at work.

Ben Willmott, Head of Public Policy at the CIPD, emphasised the importance of health and safety during periods of extreme heat. He noted that employers should be particularly mindful of employees with disabilities, health conditions, or those in safety-critical roles such as drivers and construction workers. High temperatures can impact concentration and lead to fatigue, making safety a critical concern.

Exploring Flexible Working Options

Willmott suggested that where possible, employers should offer flexible working arrangements regarding both the location and timing of work. He stated, “Working from home may allow employees to be more comfortable and productive.” For roles that cannot be performed from home, he recommended other forms of flexibility, such as adjusting start and finish times to avoid commuting during peak heat hours.

Certain workplaces, especially older buildings, may be more affected by heatwaves. While there is no legal maximum temperature for workplaces in the UK, employers are urged to ensure a reasonable working temperature. Measures to maximise employee comfort include providing fans in the absence of air conditioning, ensuring easy access to cold drinking water, and relaxing strict uniform dress codes.

Willmott also advised businesses to proactively support employees ahead of hot weather by allowing discussions about possible adjustments with their managers in advance. This proactive approach can help employees prepare for and manage the impact of high temperatures more effectively.