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Tips and Hacks to Keep Your Business Cool This Sweltering Summer

Funny office worker ready to go on summer holiday.

It’s been a top news headline for weeks now — A brutal heatwave that has a large chunk of the country (and many international destinations) in its grasp with little relief in sight. Below are nine ideas to help beat the heat and weather the dog days of summer:

1. Invest in heating and cooling tech — You might have a Nest or Google thermostat for your house that allows you to control temperature settings and timers using a wifi connection. You may not be aware these same types of tools can be valuable when it comes to regulating your workplace setting versus standard timers that do not allow flexibility. If you are offsite and the day is suddenly becoming much hotter than anticipated and you have staff that may be out of the office and returning later, a wifi enabled thermostat can allow you to pre-cool the environment ensuring a more comfortable and safer workplace.

2. Institute flex hours — Many state power authorities frequently issue notices known as a “Flex Alert,” meaning there is a high strain on the electrical grid and consumers are urged to turn off appliances and delay heavy use tasks such as laundry. Create a system for flex hours at your workplace as well so you can minimize use of equipment or machinery that may actually emit heat during these hottest parts of the day. Consider sliding your workday to begin early and end before peak afternoon heat or if you have an evening or split shift, delaying the start of those shifts a few hours if possible can not only reduce strain on the grid but potentially keep your entire location cooler.

3. Conduct a ‘hot zones’ audit — In order to maximize your cooling efforts, figure out which parts of your facility or office get the hottest throughout the day. Using a simple air temperature measurement gun, take readings of ambient temperatures in all the major zones of your workplace at various points throughout the day and record the results. The eventual log will help you identify patterns as to which areas might benefit from additional UV filters on windows, light blocking shades or portable cooling units.

4. Examine needs for zoned cooling — Especially if your facility or office is more than 20 years old, determine if the cooling system can be reconfigured for zone cooling if not already set up to do so. Many older locations often have central heating or cooling only, forcing you to pay to cool an entire building when potentially only half of the space is being used. While it may require an upfront capital expenditure, switching to zone cooling or installing individual mini split units can save on electrical costs long term and also ensure all employees, visitors and vendors are always at a comfortable and safe temperature.

5. Determine what work can be done off site — One of the positive side effects from the COVID pandemic was the proliferation of technology and tools to allow remote work. During summer heat waves consider allowing staff to work at home if applicable, reducing your overall electric load and expenditure at any physical locations. Additionally, if you are conducting activities such as training or team building, examine offsite locations with excellent cooling options or even breezy outdoor settings to avoid expenses at your office.

6. Spend to save as you see the light — Inefficient and high-energy light bulbs and fixtures can be both major heat generators and power vampires. Allocate part of your facilities budget to go through and replace all old light installations and bulbs with modern, efficient LED and low-use models. The decreases on energy draw will not only bring down your overall office temperature but also lower your kilowatt use to decrease your monthly utility bill.

7. Look up — You might not realize it but your roof can have a big impact on the temperature and energy efficiency of your building. Traditional, dark slate roofs absorb heat like a sponge which radiates downward all day long, making any existing cooling system work that much harder. If possible, investigate painting your roof white to help reflect the sun. Another way to encourage insulation is the idea of a ‘green’ roof or garden/turf roof. Depending on your situation you may be able to plant turf or succulents on your roof area to absorb heat and light, helping further insulate your building and even assist with cleaning carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

8. Ensure all employees are hydrated — Whether your employees work in the field or an office or onsite location, staying hydrated during scorching summer months is essential. Install additional water refill stations, encourage hydration breaks and invest in branded reusable company water bottles to encourage everyone to drink up! As an added bonus, branded water bottles can be a great way to increase your brand exposure to external audiences.

9. Embrace summertime with an ice cream social — As much as you might try to ‘beat the heat,’ the fact is it’s here to stay likely for several months. Embrace summertime with opportunities for a little fun through a companywide ice cream social or shave ice snow cone machine! Bring the festivity and a little nostalgia with quick breaks to cool off with some delicious icy treats. As a bonus, you can even use an ice cream social to create a little camaraderie with a quick team building activity or ice breaker (pun intended!) — A great way to get everyone refreshed and revitalized!

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