Some employers really need to chill out on dress codes

With a heatwave warning in place this week for parts of the UK, and temperatures predicted to soar as high as 32oC, the TUC is calling on employers to relax office dress codes and cool down their overheating offices and wilting employees. By allowing staff to loosen their ties and leave their jackets at home, the TUC is hoping most employers will adopt a more relaxed approach to office attire, if only for the hottest days of the summer, and help make work a bit more bearable. Often the best way for staff to keep cool inside when it’s swelteringly hot outside is for them to sport less formal, more casual clothing, and come into work in shirt sleeves and shorts. Casual dress makes business sense too. Employers who provide their staff with a cool and comfortable work environment are going to get more out of them when it’s hot. If you can't dress down into more appropriate summer clothing, or if you work in offices without air-conditioning, fans or a plentiful supply of cool drinking water, you're going to feel lethargic, and lack inspiration or creativity. Where employees are attending important external meetings or are dealing with the public, it may not be appropriate for them to turn up to work in vest tops and shorts, says the TUC. But so long as staff are turned out appropriately, it should be possible to agree on a dress code that both fits with the corporate image and helps keep staff cool. Summers are only going to get hotter and drier over the coming years as a result of climate change, so working out how to keep workplaces and staff cool is going to be of increasing concern for employers. In fact, summer dress could help the environment and budgets at the same time, if it means the company can turn down the air con a notch or two. Although the law states that staff should work in a reasonable temperature, there is no legal maximum, only a legal minimum temperature. If you can feel the temperature rising where you work, check out our tips on working through a heatwave.