Yup, summer is officially here and the weathermen (and women) are working overtime to bring us repeated news of the much-anticipated glorious hot weather.
However, sunshine and soaring temperatures are not necessarily great news for those of us whose work may require us to be sat in an office working at a computer for significant chunks of the day and productivity levels can sometimes flounder during a heatwave.
So here are our tips on how to keep your cool and stay focused on the job in hand (rather than wishing you were on the beach!):
Tackle the hard stuff first
Many subscribe to the idea that the first hour of the working day will set the tone for the following 7 or so hours, so it is really important to make the most of this time as it can sometimes represent your most productive 60 minutes. Allocate those difficult tasks that you’ve been putting off to the morning when you are likely to feel most energised and unaffected by the traditional post-lunch slump. Finishing off a piece of work that has been bothering you brings with it a real sense of achievement which will give you a little boost for the rest of the day.
Dress the part
While some offices may still operate a fairly strict dress code, even the most conservative corporate environments need to concede that dressing for comfort is a must during a heatwave. No-one performs at that best if they are feeling hot, sticky and uncomfortable. Opt for non-synthetic and breathable fabrics such as cotton and linen and go for looser fitting clothes that don’t constrict.
Since the brain is mostly water, it makes total sense that keeping the body hydrated will help to keep you alert and encourage maximum productivity. Acknowledge that you will need to drink more during hotter periods but make sure that you are opting for the right drinks, upping the teas and coffees will just increase your caffeine intake – which can lead to energy sapping dehydration. Equally, quenching your thirst with fizzy drinks can play havoc with your waist line – and your teeth – unless they are sugar-free. Water ticks all the hydration boxes and is readily available. If you don’t have access to a water cooler at the office, try filling a bottle at home and putting it in the freezer overnight to provide a cooling drink on the way to work and throughout the morning.
Adapt your lunch time intake and avoid heavy, spicy foods which might be difficult to digest and are more likely to induce those heavy eye-lid moments when all you want to do is take a nap. Choose instead protein rich choices with plenty of fibre and wholegrains to provide slow-release energy that will get you through the day.
Cheap temperature control
If the office is not air-conditioned invest in a cheap desk fan to provide some much-needed relief from a stuffy working environment. Try and find time to get out of the office at lunch time for a walk (not to the pub!!) to get moving, clear your mind and to enjoy some fresh air.