How to Deal with Summer's Challenges in the Workplace

Posted by martin.parnell |
How to Deal with Summer's Challenges in the Workplace

In many parts of Alberta, we are still waiting for summer to properly arrive. Where I live, we’ve experienced plenty of rain and not many of those glorious, long, hot summer days. Still, whereas some of us are longing for those lazy, hazy days, for some, Summer can be quite stressful if they have to endure a daily commute and work in sweltering conditions.

I found an article by guest writer Jesse Wood, CEO, eFileCabinet on the Entrepreneur website, who addresses some of the issues that might arise during the summer and solutions to dealing with them. Entitled The 6 Worst Office Problems Employers Will Face this Summer and How to Solve Them, I’ve picked my top three: 

 “1. Auto commutes on hot days

Hot weather has been scientifically proven to increase levels of aggression - hence the terms "hothead" and "heated" and their relevant connotations.

Given the uptick in summertime temperatures, commuters can expect to both display more bouts of road rage and to be on the receiving end of these tantrums more frequently come summertime.

This is no small problem, AAA reports that eight out of every 10 drivers has expressed "significant" road rage, including but not limited to, deliberate tailgating, purposeful blocking of other vehicles and intentional thumping of other cars’ bumpers.

And that’s just the beginning: Between commutes to and from the office, there are eight or more hours of workplace labor subject to the residual effects of road rage, threatening to escalate tensions among coworkers.

Solutions? Meditating during your lunch break can prevent a bout of road rage on your return commute, which is likely to be more stressful than its morning counterpart. Step outside, sit down on the grass and focus on breathing deeply for 10 t-15 minutes. This will lower your heart rate and give you a good dose of sunshine before your return to work for the afternoon.

2. Thermostat wars

Contrary to popular opinion, thermostat wars aren’t just a problem in households - they also cause disagreements in the workplace. And although many employees remain silent on the issue, everyone has a very different idea of what constitutes an ideal temperature at the office.

The differences tend to be split between the genders, as well, with men preferring cooler temperatures while women prefer warmer ones -- further fueling the age old battle of the sexes.

If you work better on the cooler side of thethermostat and others don’t want to turn down the temperature, you’ll have to implement a solution to not be that guy (or gal) who applies deodorant at his or her desk.

This will involve exerting as little energy as possible. Although research suggests that sitting too much at work can be harmful, summertime demands we preserve our energy for staying active outside the office and fully enjoying all the season offers.

Solutions? Try to use the fax machine, printers, scanners and any other device that requires you to move around the office as little as possible. Another strategy is to move closer to these items in the office, provided space is available near them.

However, one study suggests that centralized printers and work devices can lower productivity, rivaling the water cooler as the location of choice for office banter.

Solutions? A case can be made to HR directors that workers should have access to a greater number of printers, scanners and fax machines. This will not only reduce the likelihood of distracting conversation and the number of steps employees must take each day to complete tasks, but also help employees not work up a sweat while jaunting to and from centralized printers, fax machines and scanners.

3. The countdown to leaving the office to enjoy the weather

If you’re watching the clock at 4:50 p.m. in the wintertime and counting down the seconds until you can leave, imagine how intense the urge to leave will become when the summer sunlight pours through the pellucid clouds and beams through the window pane by your desk.

If work circumstances allow it, put on those headphones and listen to a wintertime playlist while crunching numbers or drafting up that report. This will keep you focused on what’s in front of you at your desk, not the sunshine you’re missing outside.

Additionally, reserve your paid time off for summer. It may be tempting to schedule time off as soon in the year as possible, but you’ll thank yourself later if you save it for summertime.

Solutions? Try closing the blinds while at work. This can prevent you from being enticed by the beautiful distraction of sunlight, and suffering the potential sunburn that comes with it, given how windows allow the passage of light.

Additionally, make an extra effort to simplify your workspace to streamline workflow; this can mitigate the need to stay late to wrap up projects. Changing the way documentation is handled in the office is another good place to simplify your workspace.

Poor workflow can lead to increased time spent on administrative work, forcing employees to work longer hours. Keeping files organized and in a secure digital format can significantly improve this. It saves employees from having to sift through endless stacks to find files, as well as losing files or having to reproduce the information from the lost documents, only to find they’ve just been misplaced. The more efficiently employees work, the more likely they are to leave the office on time to enjoy those beautiful summer evenings.”

Hopefully, you won’t have to deal with any of these issues, but just in case, I hope this proves helpful and with reference to the quote, at the beginning of this piece, see my blog posted on June 12th. 2018 Why Sleeping On The Job Can Be A Good Thing

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Overcoming Obstacles to Achieve Your Full Potential” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

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