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When Is It Officially Too Hot To Work In The Office?


When Is It Officially Too Hot To Work In The Office?

The UK's current spate of hot weather has continued into another week, coinciding with the much-vaunted 'Freedom Day' - the date when most Covid restrictions have been lifted (19 July).

However, the lifting of restrictions also means that many of us just so happen to have gone back into the office today.

But with temperatures hitting the 30s this week across the UK, the heatwave isn't stopping just yet, leaving many people to wonder just how hot it has to be before you can claim the office is too hot to work in.


Some people will have the luxury of working in air-conditioned offices, while others will be sweating in places they didn't know were possible.

If you're one of the latter, then you're probably wondering how hot it needs to get before your boss has to send you home. Here's a handy guide to your rights in the workplace.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

So, how hot does it have to get before you can leave work and go to the beer garden?


Unfortunately, there isn't a set temperature for offices or other workplaces. Employers have to make sure that the conditions are 'reasonable', depending on the kind of work taking place.

The Health and Safety Executive says: "A meaningful maximum figure cannot be given due to the high temperatures found in, for example, glass works or foundries."

The Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers recommends the following temperatures for different working areas:


• Heavy work in factories: 13°C
• Light work in factories: 16°C
• Hospital wards and shops: 18°C
• Offices and dining rooms: 20°C

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

At this stage, you may find yourself asking whether your rights are being met.


On this subject, your boss should make sure that employees have access to water and monitor their well-being. If you're pregnant or menopausal or need to wear protective equipment which stops you from taking off layers, that has to be taken into account too.

According to the Health and Safety Executive: "If a significant number of employees are complaining about thermal discomfort, your employer should carry out a risk assessment, and act on the results of that assessment."

So, in short, get your entire team to complain and your boss will have to do something about it. I'm sure they'd secretly prefer to be in a beer garden too.


Additional copy: Mark Cunliffe

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Work, Weather, UK News, heatwave

Amelia Ward
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