How flaming will change the way work is done in the workplace
Due to climate change, fires are increasing on earth. Temperature mercury is breaking records due to wildfires. Life in Europe grinds to a halt in ongoing heat wave. The situation is the same in USA, Asia, South Africa and other regions. Earlier this month, the hottest day on record was recorded. July is expected to be the hottest month this year.
John P. Abraham, a professor of thermo science at the University of St. Thomas School of Engineering in the United States, said that as the world warms, people are “stuck” in this warm climate for a long time. Previously such heatwaves would last for one to two days; But now it is lasting for three to five consecutive days. Those who are working continuously for one to two days in this period may face various problems in the long run.
Scientists predict that temperatures will continue to rise due to ongoing climate change and that these extra heatwaves will become normal. People’s lifestyle is also changing. The way people work will also change. So the workers should know what kind of problems they will face. And the organizations must also try to protect the workers.
Office and out-of-office work
Experts say workplace changes due to burnout will generally fall into two categories. The first is working outside the office, where the environment is quite hot. Such as agricultural or manufacturing sectors, where high temperatures are not controlled.
In 2022, a street cleaner in Madrid died of heatstroke after working in extreme heat. Academics say some major changes are likely to occur in such work environments to protect workers.
Abraham says, “Working outside in the summer will require short shifts with extra breaks.” And you have to work more at night. The professor of thermal science said that starting working hours in the evening shift is not a solution. There will still be risks. First, nighttime temperatures are warming faster than daytime temperatures. He also said, ‘If the workers work in the hot workplace during the day and the night temperature is very hot, their body cannot cool down in this situation. This will cause them to have a tough time the next day. This will cause them vision problems and other safety problems.
Air-conditioned cooling centers will become more common, Abraham believes. And employers must arrange for workers to take breaks to cool down their body temperature and get them back to work.
Workers who work indoors or in cool environments are relatively safe from exposure to extreme temperatures. But their work schedule should also change.
Mansoor Soomro, senior lecturer in the Department of Sustainability and International Business, Leadership, Management and Human Resources at Tayside University International Business School, UK, said, ‘Remote work (home office), hybrid work (one day a week in a physical office and another day home office), four days a week office… and six hours instead of eight hours a week have proven to be helpful in heatwave conditions. being Apart from this, employees can feel more comfortable due to dressing informally in the home office.’
In both environments, some workers’ office schedules are already beginning to change, says Mansoor Soomro. Their work begins early in the morning and ends before the midday peak. Something like that will probably be seen more.
Role of employers
Employers can also introduce new arrangements for their employees. Mansoor Soomro said some employers are conducting periodic heat risk assessments to identify workers most vulnerable to heatstroke, including older workers, pregnant women, and workers with physical disabilities.
Mansoor Soomro also said that allowances and additional benefits can be given to these workers as needed. He hopes employers will increase these observations as the extreme heat wave continues.
Likewise, Mansoor Sumro predicts that organizations will increasingly implement specific heat-related health and worker wellness initiatives. To assist employees in adjusting to a changing climate, training sessions on managing heat stress or planning one’s fitness and diet should be included.
Mansoor Soomro also said, ‘Infrastructure investment will also be important. Organizations are investing in creating heat resistant work environments. This includes sustainable infrastructure including improved air conditioning systems.’
“Heat-related discomfort negatively affects work performance and productivity,” says Mansoor Soomro. Likewise, organizations also want to avoid the negative aspects of heat-related health conditions as much as possible. Because if the employees are absent from the office when they are sick, their salary will be deducted. Due to this their family life may be affected. And employers have to incur medical expenses, reduce organizational productivity and suffer the consequences of legal disputes.’
Abraham and Sumro:
Although the burden on some organizations to protect workers is increasing; Abraham and Sumro agreed that the law must quickly play a role in this regard.
But the good news is that some governments are already enacting legislation to act in this era of rising heat waves. April in Spain is the hottest month on record in the country. The country’s government has announced new laws for both employers and workers. The new law states that when weather conditions turn orange (significant risk) or red (extreme risk), employers are required to adapt to work conditions, including reducing or changing scheduled workday hours.
However, although the issue is urgent, some studies have shown that most countries are not ready to respond quickly to this issue.
According to a study by Oxford University published in July, the amount of energy required for cooling is expected to equal the nation’s whole electricity production capacity by 2050., the European Union and Japan in 2016. Among the most affected countries are Ireland, United Kingdom and Finland.
The future of climate change and work is uncertain. But experts say warmer weather will undoubtedly change work patterns.