Beat The Heat: Integrity HR Tips On Keeping Cool

by | Aug 1, 2011 | Blog, Employee Morale, HR Policies, Human Resources

  • Amy Letke

    Amy Newbanks Letke, SPHR, GPHR, is the Founder of Integrity HR, Inc. Amy provides workplace solutions to improve performance, reduce liability and increase profits. She is passionate about helping other entrepreneurs and business owners achieve success. Contact us for more insights - 502-753-0970 or

Let’s state the obvious: It’s hot.

It feels like we’ve been under a heat advisory all summer and we’re tired of it.

As HR professionals we know when the temperature rises, so do employees’ tempers. At Integrity HR, we are not immune to this epidemic. We are the first to admit that we are suffering from a severe case of heat exhaustion. The symptoms include: snappyremarks to co-workers that you instantly regret, increased Google searches for “cool tropical vacation destinations,” and less productivity due to daydreams that include fruity drinks with pink umbrellas in them.

Now, if you’re still reading (we’d understand if you were off Googling your next vacation spot), we’d like to give you tips to help your workplace beat the heat!

If you want to keep your employees cooled off, create a more relaxed atmosphere. We’re all on edge due to this heat. So lighten up! Here’s how:

1.Treat yourself and your employees. On your way back from lunch, pick up a treat for the office. Stop at Kroger and get some popsicles. Or stop at Dairy Queen and get some ice cream cones (you may need some help to carry those back). One of our consultants surprised our staff by bringing back McDonald’s Mango Pineapple smoothies for everyone to enjoy. That delicious treat helped break up the mundane day and put everyone in a better mood. Want more tips like this? Read on previous blog on what you can do to increase employee performance.

2.Encourage casual Fridays. Or Mondays. Or Wednesdays. It doesn’t matter the day, but in this heat we all need a break from professional clothing. Let your employees where flip flops or shorts just once a week. See how it goes and if everyone can handle the freedom to chose appropriate summer clothing, then maybe you could make it more than once a week. You may want to outline some rules so no one shows up in a Lady Gaga inspired costume. Read our previous blog to see what is considered appropriate summer wear.

3. Create summer activities. Tell your employees to put a favorite beach toy on their desk.  Have a sunglass decorating contest. Encourage everyone bring in the recipe for their favorite beach cocktail. Play The Beach Boys or tropical music in the break room.  Replace lunchroom chairs with lounge chairs. Suddenly, your office will feel more like vacation than work. Before you plan a beach-themed party, make sure to read our previous blog on how to avoid office parties disasters. Employees can focus on work because they will no longer be Googling vacation spots. (They’ll be in one!) Need more ideas? Read our previous blog on the top 3 ways to motivate salaried employees and the one thing to never do.

Now, in all seriousness, you need to be careful in this heat.  If your employees are working outside make sure they not only drink Gatorade to keep hydrated, but also drink plenty of water. Make sure your employees know the signs of heat-related illnesses. Don’t rely on your thirst to let you know when to get something to drink. If you wait until you’re thirsty, you’re already slightly dehydrated.  You should be drinking at least eight glasses of water a day and should add two more glasses if you’re working outside.

Other signs of heat exhaustion include: profuse sweating, weakness, nausea, vomiting, headache, lightheadedness and muscle cramps. If you experience these symptoms, stop working immediately and get hydrated!

TELL US: What are you doing to help your employees beat the heat?

Want more information on improving employee performance? Contact us today and sign up for our upcoming  seminar “Simple Strategies to Enhance Employee Performance” on August 24.

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