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The Summer Dress Code Dilemma

The Hot Weather Dilemma

Although the British Summer often doesn’t result in hot temperatures there will be times when the sun does come out and workers find themselves working in hot conditions. Especially when in recent months, the weather has been entirely unpredictable. With the possibility of the UK’s 2018 summer becoming one of the hottest in history, it is worth thinking about what you can do to prepare in the office. Below are our five top tips to help you improve your office environment during summer.

Keeping cool in work

While employers are not legally obliged to provide air conditioning in workplaces they are expected to provide reasonable temperatures. If you have air conditioning switch it on, if you have blinds or curtains use them to block out sunlight. It is also important to drink plenty of water and employers must provide you with suitable drinking water in the workplace.

Regular breaks

As well as providing water fountains, it is also important to allow employees the chance to get some fresh air as staying inside all day in the circulating heat can be detrimental to their wellbeing and make it challenging for them to work productively.

Dress code

Employers often have a dress code in the workplace for many reasons such as health and safety, or workers may be asked to wear a uniform to communicate a corporate image. A dress code can often be used to ensure workers are dressed appropriately.

While employers are under no obligation to relax their dress code or uniform requirements during hot weather, some may allow workers to wear more casual clothes, or allow “dress down” days. This does not necessarily mean that shorts and flip flops are appropriate, rather employers may relax the rules regarding wearing ties or suits.

As vague dress codes are entirely subjective, having a summer-specific policy will ensure your employees understand what workwear is appropriate.

Vulnerable workers

The hot weather can make workers feel tired and less energetic especially for those who are young, older, pregnant or those on medication. Employers may wish to give these workers, more frequent rest breaks and ensure ventilation is adequate by providing fans, or portable air cooling units.

Recognise the heat

It’s easy for employees to feel less engaged when it’s nice weather outside and they have to be at work. Taking simple steps to show employers value and appreciate their staff during hot weather will help perk employees up and reduce absenteeism. These steps can include providing ice lollies, cold drinks or summer snacks to members of staff. Additionally, early finish incentives providing certain targets are met will help raise productivity as staff wish to make the most of their longer evenings.

If you need help and advice regarding dress codes in the workplace, please do not hesitate to contact me or the employment team on 0113 350 4030 or at hello@scesolicitors.co.uk.

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SCE Solicitors is a boutique employment law practice based in Leeds which advises clients nationwide.  Please note that the information in this blog is to provide information of general interest in a summary manner and should not be construed as individual legal advice. Readers should consult with SCE Solicitors or other professional counsel before acting on the information contained here.

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