Beat the Heat: Tips for Staying Cool in the Workplace
With summer upon us and temperatures on the rise, staying cool has become a top priority. Whether you’re in the office or on site, it’s important not to get overheated or dehydrated.
We’ve gathered some simple tips to help you stay cool:
Wear light clothes
In the summer, both lightweight and light-coloured clothes are best for surviving the heat. Natural fabrics such as cotton, linen and silk are best because they absorb sweat, and its evaporation will help you stay cool. Artificial fabrics such as polyester and rayon tend to be heavier and aren’t so absorbent.
While dark colours absorb light and heat, lighter colours reflect it. If you must wear a suit, try one that’s white or light grey instead of black or navy blue. The same goes for shirts and blouses.
It may sound counter-intuitive, but wearing more clothing can actually help keep you cool. Many people living in the hottest regions of the world will cover themselves from head to toe as it keeps their skin shaded and protects them from the sun. Make sure you wear loose clothes to allow air to circulate.
Close the window
While a breeze is always nice, all you’re doing by opening the window is letting in hot air, unless it’s significantly cooler outside. Even worse, if you’re in an air-conditioned office then you’re letting the cool air out. Drawing the blind to keep the sun out can also help to lower temperatures indoors.
When it’s hot outside, you sweat more and lose fluids. Drinking water will keep you healthy and cool.
There are other ways that water can ease the heat. A few cool drops on your wrists and the back of your neck can help lower your body temperature. Alternatively, keep a spray bottle on hand and give yourself a nice mist every hour.
Follow the sun
If you’re going to be on site, or you know you have to do something physically strenuous, try to schedule it for first thing in the morning while it’s still a bit cooler. The longer the sun is up the hotter it gets, and so it becomes more likely you’ll overheat. If you can, avoid going out between 10am and 3pm, when it’s hottest. And if you’re outside, don’t forget the sunscreen.
Heat rises, so the lower you go the cooler it gets. If your building has a basement, grab a laptop and work down there. Even going one floor down can make a big difference.
Eat small meals
That nice warm feeling that comes after a big meal isn’t just in your head. When you eat a large meal, your body must work harder to digest it, pushing your metabolism into overdrive. Try to have small snacks throughout the day instead of larger meals and you’ll feel much cooler.
While many simply can’t function without their daily fix, forgoing your morning tea or coffee can help you stay cool. Caffeine increases your heart rate and blood flow and speeds up your metabolism, all of which raises your body temperature. The same goes for beverages with a high sugar content, which can have similar effects.
So what snacks are best for keeping you cool? Ice cream and ice lollies certainly work, but frozen fruit is a much healthier choice. Pop some watermelon or pineapple slices or some grapes into the freezer and a few hours later you’ll have a sweet, cold and healthy treat. Frozen lemon and lime slices are also great for keeping your drinks cool and refreshing.
Avoid hot devices
Phones, tablets, laptops and other devices are all made of metal, which absorbs heat. Worse than that, portable devices all have batteries that can overheat, especially in the summer. Try to keep your devices in bags, away from your skin and out of your pockets. If you work on a laptop, try using an external keyboard. Otherwise, the components most likely to overheat will be right under your fingertips.