Managing People – Hot Words in Warm Weather
At the moment in London we are in the middle of a heat wave. Having moaned for months that we were living in a country where summer was a things of past – now we have a little too much of it.
This morning like many others I woke up after a most uncomfortable night! This is not the balmy heat of the Mediterranean. Even in the suburbs it is city sticky. So I woke, not only not refreshed but also very tetchy.
Now, I’m blessed with an understanding partner who is coping with the heat much better than I am. He didn’t react to my miserable mutterings – thank goodness. Instead, bless him, he got me a cold drink and gave me time to wake up properly.
Each of us will react differently to the hot weather and for some of us it will not bring out the best side of our nature. This is true at work as well as at home. It isn’t a coincidence that long hot summers are associated with civil disturbance.
So, if you are a manager how do you deal with a work group who are clearly feeling the heat.
Well, first of all recognise that the climate outside the building does affect the climate within. Some people will feel fine working as usual but others may not. Be aware and listen and look out for what is happening. If people become argumentative – intervene to calm things down.
Be prepared to be flexible about people needing more drink and rest breaks. If you have air conditioning and access to fans – now is the time to use them.
Supplying bottled water and encouraging people to drink it, will work wonders. If you want to be boss of the year then this afternoon buy everyone an ice cream
If you have people who work outside then make sure they have the right protection from the sun.
On top of all that be aware of yourself and how you are feeling. If someone makes you feel angry take a deep breath and have a cold drink before you react!
Above all, be patient with yourself and with those you manage.
As this weather is set to continue for a while – here is the Health and Safety Executive’s guidance on Heat Stress http://www.hse.gov.uk/temperature/heatstress/index.htm