Who can forget the blistering midyear heatwave that lasted nearly the entire summer of 2018? According to AccuWeather, 2018’s temperatures made it the fourth hottest year on global record. December 2018, in particular, was much warmer than normal, marking it the second warmest December since records began. The past five years have, collectively, been the warmest years on modern record.
It looks like the warmer weather is here to stay, and though we can only hope our efforts to curb the damage of climate change have an impact, businesses will need to prepare for these warmer temperatures in the meantime. So, what did businesses learn from last year’s unusually high temperatures, and how can they protect themselves moving forward?
Lesson 1: Employee’s Behavior And Comfort
The temperature has a notable effect on human behavior. While we’re not suggesting you let your employees get away with anything just because the sun’s out, it is worth keeping in mind that extreme weather variations can change people’s behavior and mood, especially if they are made uncomfortable by it.
While Seasonal Affective Disorder is now quite well-known during the colder months, the issue of hot weather is often neglected. From heightened tensions, shorter tempers, and feelings of lethargy, not everyone loves sunny weather. And for the people who do, it’s always a bit of a downer to have to come into work during the ‘rare’ UK sunny days!
Keep spirits high and comfort a priority. Try the following processes in your workplace:
- Let your employees head outside for an extra 10-15 min during their shift to enjoy the sun. The little bonus will certainly perk up moods while having a chance to get some fresh air and cool off will help combat the feeling of fatigue.
- Naturally, ensure that your employees have access to plenty of cold water. Water stations should be kept topped up and monitored regularly.
- If your workplace has a uniform policy, be sure to include suitable summer-weather alternatives, such as short-sleeved versions of company shirts.
- No one wants to show up to work sweaty. With many people traveling to work by foot or by bike, in the hot weather, employees can already feel like they’ve worked a full day by the time they get to the office. Consider installing shower facilities for employees to freshen up.
Lesson 2: Be Prepared For Stock Shortages
Even the big-name brands can get caught out by the havoc of hot weather. Last year, Sainsbury’s was left embarrassed by empty shelves and ‘shabby stores’ and blamed the issue partly on staff cuts, and partly on the UK heatwave. It may be worth considering growing your own fruit and veg!
There’s only so much you can do about supplier’s stocks, but you can put measures in place now to stock up on items in order to create a safety-net of sorts in the event of heat-based stock shortages.
Lesson 3: Weather Changes Customer Needs
At the end of the day, your business is there to meet customer needs. But those needs might change depending on the weather! It’s up to you to adapt to this in order to tap into a lucrative business opportunity brought in by the warmer months.
For example, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council has Operation Heatwave in place to offer a number of preparations in the event of hot weather to ensure tourists have the best possible experience. A notable perk of this operation is that parking is offered for free.
Depending on your business, you could offer something a little different on these summery days. If you run a business such as an activity center where there is usually a cost for parking, could free parking to entice more custom on these sunny days? If your business is a café, make sure you’re offering iced options too — an iced coffee machine would pay for itself quickly in the summer serving people who want their caffeine boost but don’t fancy a hot drink under the sun.
Are you fully prepared for 2019’s summer? Whether it’s rain or shine, it’s important to be ready in order to get the most out of your business.