Something for the weekend: With this summer’s heatwave hitting offices up and down the UK, a particularly brazen portion of the nation’s employees are claiming to plan on ditching work for a self-imposed summer half day, inspired by an unusual Facebook event.
As temperatures hit 38 degrees Celsius this week, community group The Sesh has created a new public event on social media platform Facebook, called ‘Leave work and go [to] the beer garden, they can’t sack all of us’.
The suggested half day off work, set for Monday 19 August 2019, currently has just under 30,000 confirmed attendees, as well as 100,000 interested individuals, who are toying with the idea of downing tools to instead enjoy an afternoon relaxing in a nearby pub garden, swapping the office water cooler for bar beverages and outdoor seating.
This event has surfaced at the same time as national trade union centre the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has voiced its support of the policy of staff heading home once temperatures reach 30 degrees Celsius, or 27 degrees Celsius for those performing manual labour; the TUC is even campaigning to see a change in the law to introduce a new maximum indoor temperature for workplaces.
Frances O’Grady, general secretary at TUC, said: “While many of us love to see the sun, it’s no fun working in a baking office or a stifling factory. Bosses should do all they can to keep the temperature down.
“The easiest way for staff to keep cool inside is being able to work in more casual clothing. While shorts and vest tops may not be appropriate for all, nobody should be made to suffer in the heat for the sake of keeping up appearances.
“It’s in bosses’ interests to provide a cool and comfortable work environment. [Staff] who are unable to dress down in lighter clothing, or who work in offices without air-conditioning, fans or drinking water, are going to be tired, and lack inspiration and creativity.”
Here at Employee Benefits, while we agree that the idea of a half day off work to take advantage of this uncharacteristic British weather is a great idea, we are not too sure about the idea of downing tools without checking first. Employers might do well to take note of the groundswell of approval for this event, though, and consider whether a sanctioned summer half day could work for them…