How to cope without the office aircon

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I have been a remote worker for nearly 5 years and there are only a few things I miss about not being in an office.  Pret a Manger chocolate brownies and aircon!  On the rare occasion that the weather is hot here in the UK I always used to envy my office working friends sat in their chilled spaces, whilst I melted in my south-facing home office.

A few years ago I wrote an article on how to stay productive in the heat, with more of us now working away from the traditional office it felt time to give it a bit of a remote-working update.

  1. Clothing – this is where remote working comes into its own. There is no need to stick to the office dress code policy. If you’re more comfortable in shorts and flip-flops, then go ahead. If you really want to work in your swimwear with your feet in a paddling pool, then now is the only occasion where it will be possible.  However, remember that you are still working, ensure you are appropriately dressed for any video calls.
  2. Hydrate – make sure you drink enough during the day, hot weather means your body uses up its water reserves much quicker. A lack of water will slow your brain down – which is bad news for productivity. I have been putting a large bottle of water in the fridge before bed so I have a nice cold drink the next day, as close to a chilled water cooler as I can get.
  3. Take a break – working in the heat is tiring, make sure you take a break and get away from your desk every hour or so. It will give your productivity a much-needed boost.
  4. Fuel – heat affects your appetite; more people skip meals in the hotter wearer. Don’t forget to eat. With your whole fridge at your disposal, it’s easy to find something to tempt your appetite. If you can’t stomach anything big then a nice light salad will help to keep you cool.
  5. Timing – the day gets hotter the later it gets. With the flexibility of remote working, you can (if allowed by your employer) tweak your hours. Perhaps start earlier and do your most important tasks in the morning when it’s cooler. Leave the easier tasks to the afternoon when energy levels will be at their lowest.
  6. Climate – most houses aren’t equipped with aircon, think about where you’re working and if possible move to the coolest place in your house/flat. My office is south facing, amazing in the morning but come 1 pm it’s in full sun and unbearable. On really hot days I move around to find a cooler spot and have at times decamped to a coffee shop or the local library to get some respite from the heat.
  7. Concentrate – multi-tasking isn’t the most productive way to work – our brains work best when concentrating on one thing at a time. When the weather is hot and concentration and energy are lacking, try to stick to one task at a time. Concentrating on a single task will help you get it finished quicker and with fewer mistakes.
  8. Get out – leave your desk, leave your home and make the most of your lunch hour.  Go and sit in the garden or the local park, have a walk in the woods, or a simple al-fresco lunch. Rather than feeling resentful at being cooped up inside, go and get some fresh air and enjoy the sunshine.

Has this week’s mini-heatwave sent you running back to the office and its aircon or are you making the most of it and interspersing working with a bit of sun-worshiping?

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