From Cannes to California, it seems that half of the world is suddenly in the grip of a heatwave. Sure, everyone loves a little sun, but when the mercury hits 40 degrees then things start to feel really uncomfortable. 43 degrees and the office is a sweatbox. 45 degrees and the roads literally start to melt.
However, the world doesn’t stop working just because (typically) your A/C does! And it’s likely that, even though you’re dressed ready for the beach, it doesn’t mean that your deadlines are going to take a few days off for a dip in the ocean. So how do you keep working in extreme temperatures and stay productive? Despite the fact that heatmap of your country looks like the devil himself? Here, we look at a few ways you can stay cool at work in even in the hottest weather.
Water, Water, Everywhere
Stay hydrated. It’s true throughout the year, but doubly so when it comes to working in hot weather. In fact, your water bottle should be stuck to your hand like a cocktail at that beachside bar you’re currently dreaming of. Estimates of what you should be drinking can vary a little, and dehydration occurs at different rates depending on your size and genetics. However, three liters a day is a good place to start, and anytime you show signs of dehydration you should immediately up your water intake.
Find a Cool Spot
Much of Europe still doesn’t use air conditioning. Imagine that in 45 degrees. Plus, for freelancers and digital nomads working from home, air conditioning might not be available. Finding a cool spot when it is too hot to work is critical to getting anything done. Whether it’s one of the few co-working cafés that has a decent A/C unit, or the windowless, marble-lined hallway of your apartment building, when the temperature really hots up, any shady spot can bring relief. Alternatively, the freezer aisle of your local supermarket is a good bet, but you might want to keep it on the DL.
While it’s tempting to throw on a bikini or a pair of speedos and casually stroll into the office like nothing’s new, it’s probably not very practical. And certain people might see it as taking the laidback office dress code a step too far. Work clothes for hot weather should be light, airy, and baggy, with pale colors reflecting the sun while ensuring you retain an air of professionalism. There’s a reason that linen is so popular in the hottest countries, the specific weave of the fabric provides better airflow to your body and keeps you cool. It also actively conducts heat away from your body for a little extra freshness.
Take Regular Breaks
Our always-on mentality at work means we probably take less breaks than we really should. But failure to take a few moments to rest when working in a heatwave can leave you feeling exhausted before the day has even begun. Work slowly and methodically, taking water breaks often and longer breaks at least once an hour in the coolest spot you can find. Additionally, take your lunch break a little earlier or later in the day to avoid the midday sun and, for home workers and freelancers, schedule a few extra cold showers into your day.
Change Your Working Day
Everyone knows what a siesta is, but it’s only the Spanish know what it is really for. When working in hot weather, getting up early and eating a good breakfast allows you to make the most of the cool morning hours. This makes eating an early lunch and resting through the hottest part of the day seem like a no brainer. As afternoon temperatures cool, you can start working again feeling refreshed. This might be a little more difficult to those tied to offices and specific working hours, but for freelancers and remote workers, you should definitely ditch the conventional 9-5 when it is too hot to work.
Turn off the Tech
There’s a reason your laptop is beginning to sound like a jet engine on take-off if you’re working in a heatwave. Computers generate a lot of heat, and the same is true for almost all the tech in your office or home. Need to spend a couple of hours answering email? Well, turn off the computer and let your smartphone do the work. You can go sit in front of the cool box and your colleagues will thank you for reducing the heat in the office. Scheduling your deadlines for the week? You can do that from your phone too—and Spike can help! With direct access to both your email and calendars in the Spike app, you can easily organize your time from the comfort of a subterranean cave somewhere in the arctic circle—assuming you can get an internet connection of course!