How hot does it have to be to stop working from home? Your rights explained

11 August 2020, 13:26

How hot is too hot for work?
How hot is too hot for work? Picture: Getty
Alice Dear

By Alice Dear

As the heatwave continues across the UK, people are struggling to focus on work, whether they're at home or back in the office.

The UK has been treated to high temperatures for the past week now, with highs of 35 degrees in some areas.

And while the sunshine is all well and good when we're sat outside with a cold drink, working in the heat can be a struggle for many.

Especially for those still working from home amid the pandemic, keeping cool while indoors can be difficult.

But can you get time off work if it is too hot, and how do the rules work when you're working from home?

READ MORE: Using fabric softener on sheets and clothes could be interrupting your sleep during this heatwave

The UK heatwave has left some people struggling to focus on work
The UK heatwave has left some people struggling to focus on work. Picture: Getty

When is it too hot to work in the office and at home?

The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations of 1992 do not state a temperature, but say that temperature conditions must be "reasonable".

While many companies will do everything to keep their offices at a reasonable temperature, it is a lot harder to monitor people working from their homes.

Employment partner at law firm Shakespeare Martineau, Mike Hibbs, told The Mirror that you can argue to your manager that it is too hot in your environment to work.

Confirming the information to The Sun, he said: "The fact that many employees are still working from home does not mean that employers can suddenly forget their health and safety responsibilities.

"All the usual rules apply, including the need to risk assess homes as suitable working environments."

He added: "In the workplace, employers usually rely on air conditioning and ventilation to regulate temperatures.

"However, at home many employees may not have this option and their only means of keeping cool will be to open windows.

“Ultimately, employee safety should always be an employer’s top priority and they cannot force staff to work if temperature and noise levels prohibit them from doing so."

You should talk to your manager if you feel your environment is too hot to work
You should talk to your manager if you feel your environment is too hot to work. Picture: Getty

So what can I do?

If you feel it is too hot to work, the first thing you need to do is make your manager aware, you can then work together to make sure you are more comfortable in your working environment.

If you're working from home, this can be a lot harder, but is still possible and important.

A risk assessment could be carried out in order to look into the next steps.

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