The Tube was an absolute fiery hell-hole this morning and I could feel the beads of sweat dripping down my back. Starting the day off that awfully, when you’re all uncomfortable, damp and irritable, is an absolute liberty, and to be honest I kind of blame work for making me come in on a day like today.
We don’t often get days like this in the UK – it’s supposed to hit 39C today in London – so when we do we should be allowed to skip work and make the most of the weather. And by that I mean get an Aperol Spritz in Hampstead.
But no, I’m sat in this stuffy office in East London for the remainder of the day. The joy.
Something radical needs to happen, a much needed change. And that could be on the cards as the Trade Union Congress (TUC) is campaigning for workers to be able to go home when it gets too hot.
Now that’s what I’m talking about!
It’s demanding office workers be able to go home when it reaches 30°C – or 27°C for manual labour – and says employers should ‘adopt cooling measures’ when the workplace temperature hits 24°C.
At present, there’s no legal maximum or minimum temperature, however, guidelines from the Health and Safety Executive state the temperature in all indoor workplaces must be ‘reasonable’. Today’s temp is very unreasonable if you ask me.
The TUC has given a list of measure its says bosses can take to help keep you and your colleagues keep cool. They include:
– Allowing flexible working: Giving staff the chance to come in earlier or stay later will let them avoid the sweltering and unpleasant conditions of the rush hour commute. Bosses could also let staff work from home where possible.
– Keeping their buildings cool: Workplaces can be kept cooler and more bearable by taking simple steps, such as having windows that can be opened, using fans, moving staff away from windows or sources of heat, and installing ventilation or air-cooling
-Temporarily relaxing their workplace dress codes: Encouraging staff to work in more casual clothing than normal – leaving the jackets and ties off and wearing lightweight clothes instead – will help them keep cool.
-Keeping staff comfortable: Allowing staff to take frequent breaks and providing a ready supply of cold drinks will all help keep workers cool.
-Talking and listening to their staff: Staff will have their own ideas about how best to cope with the excessive heat.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “While many of us love to see the sun, it’s no fun working in a baking office or a stifling factory. Bosses should do all they can to keep the temperature down.
“The easiest way for staff to keep cool inside is being able to work in more casual clothing. While shorts and vest tops may not be appropriate for all, nobody should be made to suffer in the heat for the sake of keeping up appearances.
“It’s in bosses’ interests to provide a cool and comfortable work environment. Workers who are unable to dress down in lighter clothing, or who work in offices without air-conditioning, fans or drinking water, are going to be tired, and lack inspiration and creativity.”
Furthermore, new proposals by Labour – backed by Jeremy Corbyn – have said that workers would be sent home if the temperature tops 30C.
Employers will have to introduce air conditioning, extra breaks and let staff turn up in shorts and T shirts under the plan.
Shadow business minister Laura Pidcock said: “As we’re all being reminded this week, working in hot conditions is really uncomfortable, often stressful and it makes us less productive and even ill.
“Plus it’s often the lowest paid and most insecure workers who suffer the most.”
To me this is a complete no brainer – employers are all about staff wellbeing these days, introducing four day working weeks and such, so making us work in this heat should be the next thing they can. I’m not against work, but sometimes life is more important than a job, and on days like this people should be outside with friends and loved ones making the most of their finite time.
Come on, The Hook, sort us out.
Images via Getty
Charismatic, witty, charming, engaging - four things Joshua Rogers will never be. Thankfully, he’s a semi-competent editor, who, after graduating university with two mostly pointless degrees, joined The Hook two years ago. He subsequently honed his writing skills over several features and investigative pieces, arguably letting The Hook audience in on way too much of his personal life.