The summer heat and humidity can hit hard but there’s no reason why they should impact on the productivity of your business. If your team is feeling sluggish in these hot summer months, here are five tips for improving office productivity:
Avoid the big chill
Resist the temptation to blast the air conditioning, thinking it will help people stay cool and alert. Studies, such as one conducted by Cornell University, found that when it was cool to colder in the office people not only did less work, but they made more mistakes. Instead, opt for a reasonable temperature – 23 degrees is recommended. Encourage your team to keep fresh by wearing breathable, natural materials like cotton. Also, consider how the environment affects body temperature. Furniture such as mesh-back chairs are a great option, as they can maximize comfort and airflow.
Try boosting energy levels with activity-based working. Building movement into your team’s day helps to stop them from feeling slow and sluggish. Whether it’s physical activity at desks, taking stretch breaks, or alternating between sitting and standing, they’ll all increase calorie expenditure and help people feel less sleepy. Sit/stand workstations can be used with almost any desktop and provide smooth transitions between positions without interrupting workflow.
Cut the glare
Some people can experience increased glare on their monitor screens from the summer sun. This can lead to awkward posture, eye strain and even migraines. Be aware of this potential issue and encourage your team to adjust their monitor arm and, if necessary, desk position to minimize or eliminate this problem. Ideally workstations should face away from windows, or to the extreme left or right of them.
Put your faith in nature
Bring the outside in and turn your office green. Biophilia, which is the term used for introducing nature into the workspace, has been shown to improve stress levels and encourage people to feel energized. Plants absorb airborne pollutants and release more oxygen into the air, making us happier and healthier. The extra summer light should help indoor plants flourish, but remember to keep the temperature controlled outside of office hours to avoid the flora wilting in the heat.
Consider home working
Working from home on occasion can also be an effective alternative to the office in the steamy summer months. It’s not possible for some roles, but worth considering if the commute to and from work can be unpleasant. While many of us are still office-based, there are increasing numbers of people working remotely and companies are changing their attitudes towards flexible working, as they evolve along with advancing technologies.