Summer is here at last! And with temperatures over 30° it’s getting really hot. It's perfect weather if you can actually get outside to enjoy it. But life soon becomes unbearable if you work indoors and the office turns into a sauna when the temperature rises. Heat puts our bodies under severe stress: it reduces our concentration and productivity and can even lead to health issues including headaches, circulation problems or dizziness. These are warning signs that it's time to cool down. So how can we tackle the heat in the office? We show you how to keep a cool head in a heat wave and what you need to do to survive the summer at work – sweat free. Here are a few tips and ideas for staying cool in the office.
As well as protecting you from the sun, the right clothing can also make a hot workplace more bearable. It's all about adapting our clothing to the temperature on those hot days. Choose breathable natural fibres such as linen or cotton; synthetic materials are also suitable because they absorb humidity and have a cooling effect on the skin. If possible, it's best to change out of sweaty clothes and into dry ones right away.
Open all the windows in the morning to air the office space thoroughly (a real blast of fresh air). As soon as it gets warmer outside, close the windows and pull down the shutters. This keeps the air inside cool and stops the room getting too warm.
Avoid the midday sun
Stay out of the midday sun as it's the hottest time of day. If you do go out in the fresh air you’ll need something to cover your head and a high-factor sun cream. Otherwise your body overheats and takes a long time to cool down again.
Drink lots of fluids
The body loses a lot of fluid in the heat so it is important to drink sufficient quantities (at least two to three liters per day). We recommend water or mineral water; you can add ginger, sliced cucumber or peppermint leaves if you want to add more taste. As well as quenching your thirst, it is also refreshing and has a cooling effect. Take care not make the refreshments too cold or your body will try to offset this with lots of energy, causing it to warm up again. Hot tea is taken in southern European countries such as Turkey because the heat causes the body to cool down. Alcohol should be avoided as this draws fluid from the body.
As well as being healthy, a combination of fresh fruit, salad and vegetables is gentle on our stomach. Heavy meals or a full stomach make us tired and puts pressure on our digestive system. This triggers a release of energy, which produces superfluous heat.
If you get the chance, take a midday nap. This strengthens the immune system and optimises temperature regulation.
Spray bottles – for that refreshing kick
A spray bottle with water can give you a much-needed refreshing kick. It’s even better if you add a few ice cubes and peppermint leaves. The water on the skin is pleasantly cooling and the drizzle effect is very refreshing.
Cool your wrists
Every now and then hold your wrists under cold water for 5 minutes. This cools the body down and helps with circulation.
Reduce sources of heat
Sources of heat such as printers, overhead projectors and computers should only be used if it's really necessary.
Watch out for air conditioning
It is important to avoid extreme differences in temperature between indoor and outdoor areas in summer. So the supply air temperature for air conditioning should not be more than 8° below the temperature outside. Be careful though: the air con is often set too low and you can catch a cold if the temperature difference is more than ten degrees. In addition to reducing the room temperature, air conditioning also minimises humidity. It dries out mucous membranes and makes the immune system more susceptible to viruses and infections. So avoid focusing the airflow directly on your body, always consume sufficient fluids and possibly switch to a fan or use a humidifier to humidify the air.
The right fan direction
Fans are a good way to cool down without the risk of catching a cold. The fresh breeze helps to evaporate perspiration, which in turn cools the body down. There are now even USB-driven table fans you can connect to a computer/laptop. It is important to ensure that the air flow is not focused directly on your head. Using a fan incorrectly can dry out the skin and mucous membranes and lead to headaches and tension. It is better to direct table fans at the upper body and floor fans at the legs. A tower fan with a swivel function offers optimal ventilation, cooling a high and wide area.