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Virtual Teams outtakes: Heatwave home-working

It’s hot! Even for home-workers. So in this post, which is an ‘outtake’ from my regular series of Virtual Teams posts with Martin Hawksey, I share some of our experiences and tips for home-working during a heatwave…

When I was still office-based hot days were always a challenge. Fans were going on all the desks, commuting was a nightmare (if the trains were running at all) and everyone was trying to schedule as much time away from their desk, taking calls outside, having meetings in the cafe and taking frequent trips to the water cooler to fill up their bottles. Working when the weather is really saying “you should be on a beach… in the park… or in the pub with a cold pint” is always hard.

Dressing for the weather: one of the key advantages of being a home-worker during the heatwave is that you don’t have to leave the house, get on a train or sit in a meeting. You can wear shorts and t-shirts or loose clothing that would not adapt well to commuting or an office environment. For me, sleeveless silk blouses are a friend for formal meetings, but most days shorts and running gear makes work in hot temperatures much more productive!

Cooling your work-space: Airing your work space as much as you can in the early morning or late in the evening is key and I also find drying large sheets/laundry near an open window is a great way to cool air as far as possible. I have a south-facing window in my work space at home, so the blinds come down by about 10am in order to keep the sun at bay during the hottest hours of the day.

Fan yourself: Personally, I don’t like electrical fans, but having recently received a very useful hand fan from a friend I have found that to be an absolute life saver. It’s a great accessory not just during hot weather and will be firmly established in my travel bag.

Care & check-in: Especially during hot weather frequent check ins are important and in our team we use instant chat for that as well as daily video contact. It’s important to check in with each other’s well being and acknowledge the unusual conditions as you would if you were co-located.

Head outside: in my case the proximity of a road and a railway line and a building site makes working outside or in the garden a poor option, but some of my colleagues enjoy taking a laptop and heading outside at least for part of the day.

The fridge is your friend…: One of the things I find much easier at home is keeping hydrated and eating well during the hot weather.

Enjoy the sunshine 🙂

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