It’s hot and it will only get hotter. The summer in Germany will be a pure torture for some employees. Having AC in the office seems to be a much bigger benefit than it was a couple of months ago (if you’re an employer, considered adding it to your job ads).
The clerks are glued to their chairs, the hum of the fans is booming from every room, and the colleagues are complaining about being in the office rather than at the lake now. If you’re one of the lucky ones who gets to have perfect office climate control throughout the day, be aware that millions around the world envy you
Below are some tips and tricks on how to deal with the incredibly high temperatures and when it is actually time for the infamous “hitzefrei”.
"Hitzefrei" - What does the labour law say?
In case you didn’t know, you might be legally allowed to leave the office in certain temperature conditions – the so called “hitzefrei”.
If the room temperature – including working, break and standby rooms – ia unbearable at 30 or more degrees, the supervisor must carry out a risk assessment and initiate measures such as these within this framework:
- Ventilation of the rooms in the morning (when it is not so warm yet)
- Offer to pull working hours forward to benefit from cooler temperatures
- Relaxation of clothing rules
- Serving cool drinks
1. Stay Hydrated
It’s important to stay hydrated, especially when it’s hot. Drinking water will help you keep a lower body temperature by producing sweat. Did you know that in hot weather conditions, you can lose up to one liter and a half of sweat per hour?
Cold drinks can feel refreshing and give you an automatic sense of refreshment… temporarily. Drinking cold beverages will require extra energy from your body to digest than warm drinks, making you hotter in the long run. Warm or room temperature drinks will do the trick more efficiently.
2. A cooling foot bath - why not?
A somewhat unusual tip, but very effective against heat: If you work alone in the office or get along extremely well with your colleagues, you can bathe your feet in a small tub of cold water.
3. Go early to work
If you enjoy the privilege of flexible working hours, then you should try to escape the big heat wave and hit the office as early as possible. Don’t forget: If you arrive early, you can also leave early and spend an hour or two in the outdoor pool.
4. Adapt your dress code
We have talked about the reasons for companies to have dress codes before. In cases of extreme heat, it will be difficult to perform while you’re wearing a suit that isn’t designed to keep you fresh in these situations.
If your company allows a more relaxed dress code, consider wearing something like shorts, dresses or skirts to help you stay fresh.
5. Close your windows during the day
Opening windows and doors is one of the most natural reactions to heat. If it’s warmer outside than inside, the heat sneaks into the house through the window.
Allow the windows to close at temperatures of around 25°C and only ventilate when it’s cooler again – for example at night or early in the morning. It’s best to open all the cabinet doors, because believe it or not, cupboards also store hot air.
6. Use your fan correctly
In order to make hot rooms more bearable, a fan is a good and cost-effective method. Your fan will make you feel extra cooler with the following tricks:
Trick 1: Homemade air conditioning
- Place the fan on the floor (or as low as possible).
- Place a large bucket or container of ice cubes in front of the fan so that the fan blows air over the ice.
- Enjoy a cooling effect similar to that of an air conditioner
Trick 2: Blowing hot air out of the room
- Open the windows after sunset
- Place the fan by the window so that it blows out of the room.
- The effect: the hot air goes outside, the room cools down faster.
- If you use your fan normally, you can simply turn it off when you leave the room because fans only cool the people in the room, not the air.
7. Have some ice cream in the freezer
As previously said about the cold water, ice cream can raise your body temperature. Still, the relaxing moment of enjoying a cold and tasty ice cream can give you a quick fix and kick to motivate you to be the best you can be until the clock says it’s time to leave the office.