The summer heat has an uncanny knack for sapping our energy, making even simple tasks seem like a Herculean effort.
But here’s some good news – it doesn’t have to be!
Here are five practical, innovative solutions to help you stay engaged, efficient, and energised, even when the temperatures are anything but cool.
Whether you’re at the helm of a small team or a multinational corporation or a frontliner, these tips will ensure that the summer heat doesn’t squeeze the life of you.
The Impact of Heat on Productivity
If you’ve ever felt sluggish or less focused during a heatwave, you’re not alone. Scientific studies back up these experiences with hard data. Research published in the National Library of Medicine shows that our cognitive function takes a significant hit as temperatures rise. In the study, individuals performing tasks in non-air-conditioned buildings during a heatwave had lower cognitive scores compared to those working in air-conditioned environments.
For every degree rise in temperature, productivity drops by 2%, according to a study published by the University of Columbia.
But fret not – by acknowledging the impact of the summer heat and understanding its effect on work output, you’re already one step ahead. It’s all about adapting and finding effective strategies to counteract these seasonal shifts.
With that in mind, let’s explore some solutions that’ll keep your productivity soaring, no matter what the thermometer says.
Leverage Technology for Flexible Work Arrangements
One of the most straightforward ways to combat the productivity slump during hot weather is to offer flexible work arrangements. Thanks to technology and remote working goals, we’re no longer bound by the traditional 9-to-5 schedule or the confines of an office building.
A survey by Owl Labs revealed that 62% of remote workers reported increased productivity and focus. Companies that let their teams choose their most productive hours show that they value their comfort as much as their contribution. This is especially important during the summer, when people might choose to work during the cooler parts of the day and take a siesta when the sun is high.
Project management tools like Asana, communication platforms such as Slack or Trello, and cloud services like Google Workspace enable teams to collaborate and communicate effectively from virtually anywhere.
These digital solutions don’t just support remote work. They actively enhance it. It’s a win-win approach that boosts morale and results in a more energised, and productive team.
Create an Optimal Work Environment
If you prefer or need to work onsite, there are ways to make the physical work environment more conducive to productivity during hot weather.
A study published by the Helsinki University of Technology found that office workers’ performance peaks at around 71.6°F (22°C). It’s clear that maintaining a cool, comfortable office temperature is essential.
But it’s not just about cranking up the air conditioning. For eco-conscious companies, sustainable options like green architecture, which uses natural shade and ventilation, can help regulate building temperatures.
Beyond temperature, aesthetics matter too. Research suggests that 70% of office workers report that exposure to natural light can increase their work performance.
So, try to ensure your workspace anywhere has plenty of windows and open spaces that let in natural light. A workspace filled with indoor plants can also provide a cooler and more relaxed atmosphere.
Keep Hydration and Nutrition in Check
When it’s hot out, our bodies work overtime to cool us down – a process that requires plenty of water. Unfortunately, it’s easy to become dehydrated in the summer months, and we’re already aware how that can affect our body and mind – fatigue, headaches, and a decrease in cognitive function, all of which affect productivity.
The solution? Stay hydrated! Have easy access to fresh, cool water in the office. Hydration stations with reusable bottles or company-branded water dispensers can make this a straightforward process.
In addition to hydration, nutrition plays a crucial role in maintaining energy levels and focus. Heavy meals can make us feel sluggish and lethargic, especially when it’s hot. Lighter, more frequent meals (like salads, fruits, and protein-rich snacks) can keep you energised without the dreaded afternoon slump.
Practice Regular Breaks and Downtime
Staring at a screen all day or pushing through tasks without taking a breather can take a toll on productivity, especially during the summer heat. Regular breaks offer an opportunity to recharge, boosting overall productivity and creativity.
One practice suggests that you’d be your most productive self if you work for 52 minutes, then take a break for 17 minutes.
When taking breaks, make sure to step away from your workstation. You could take a quick walk, meditate, read, or engage in another non-work-related activity.
Another idea is to introduce “No Meeting” days or hours in your organisation, allowing everyone uninterrupted time to focus on their tasks. This can be especially beneficial during the hotter parts of the day when energy levels might naturally dip.
Prioritise your Health and Wellness
Staying active, even in the heat, can pay off in spades. Regular exercise, for instance, has been linked to enhanced creativity, improved concentration, faster learning, sharper memory, and lower stress.
You might consider starting a fitness challenge, taking online pilates classes during break times, or start cycling to work. Although, note that the goal isn’t to turn into an athlete but to promote regular movement and physical activity.
Quality sleep is another cornerstone of good health and high productivity. In the spirit of wellness, and considering that warmer weather can affect sleep quality, it may be worth exploring options to ensure a good night’s sleep, such as choosing the right mattress. Think about getting a naturally made mattress as it will provide a cooler and most importantly a healthier sleep environment.
Mindfulness practices like meditation can also boost productivity. A study by the University of Washington found that workers who practiced mindfulness training stayed on tasks longer and made fewer task switches, resulting in higher productivity.
These five strategies can help maintain efficiency and morale even when temperatures climb.
At the core, it’s about acknowledging the challenges posed by the heat and taking proactive steps to counteract them.
With these strategies in your arsenal, there’s no reason for the summer heat to put a damper on your productivity. Instead, they’re an opportunity to create more flexible, empowering, and health-conscious habits.
Author: Sarah Kaminski – freelance writer and social media marketer