Except everything isn't normal. Oh no. Your office transforms into a sardine can of trauma in summer. There's no legally defined upper temperature limit for working conditions: 'temperature in all workplaces inside buildings shall be reasonable' say the 1992 Work Regulations. But it can often feel unfair that it’s so hot and nice out there and you’re inside.
You're so hot sweaty and lethargic that even counting the ways in which your workplace is annoying in the summer is a chore. So let us count them for you.
1. Attack of the thermostat
The air conditioning is so cold that the sweat has turned to icicles in your armpits and the fan is buffeting your hair like a stiff northern breeze. Or, the room is so stuffy you keep falling asleep. It's never the right temperature in the workplace anyway, but in summer the thermostat seems to go haywire.
2. Dress code confusion
Can you get away with wearing flip flops? A swimming costume? A Hawaiian shirt? A heatwave can lead to more casual dress, but are you bending the rules with your embellished kaftan? It was so hot in June that the TUC urged employers to relax their suit and tie dress codes – but check with HR before you copy what everyone else is wearing.
3. Cup-a-Soup chaos
Your usual inexpensive soup or robust pasty suddenly look like torture devices. It's too hot for unidentifiable chunks in sauce, so you're forced to make rapid new decisions about lunch. You're too overwhelmed in the salad section to make proper choices so you eat a Magnum and a punnet of strawberries.
4. FOMO forever
Half your office is away. It's like a plague has passed through. "What’s happened here?" you whisper, staring across the desolate desks. At first, you’ll avidly stalk your absent colleagues on social media. In the long run, though, you may end up getting more work done – a quiet office can be more productive.
5. Sports day
It will be fun, they say. We'll all go to the park at 4pm, they say. It's just a game of rounders, they say. You either take it too seriously and aggressively slide-tackle second base, or you hate every minute – but still feel tears of injustice when marketing win by just one point.
6. Ice creams indoors
Someone braves the supermarket and brings everyone back an ice cream, which you eat at your desk. Like a calving glacier, the ice cream immediately sheds a sheet of chocolate onto your keyboard. You accidentally make eye contact with someone as you lick the remnants off your arm. You stare out of the window and try and mentally teleport to a beach. Your hands are sticky for the rest of the day.
But it's not all bad. Long evenings, barbecues and being outdoors await clocking off. Is it just you, or is everyone in a better mood? The roads can be a bit quieter in school holidays and office life takes on a more relaxed pace once you know your client has gone on holiday. Sorry: summer, you aren’t so bad after all.
Plus, some employers even offer flexible working hours, so you can start earlier in the morning and finish early enough to catch the best of the weather. Now, that's worth waking up for.
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