What organisations can do to help employees beat the heat

Employees in Asia are facing unbearable temperatures, and organisations can do more to ensure safe working conditions for their workforce.
By: | May 28, 2024

The regions of South-East Asia and South Asia have been facing a heatwave in recent months, due to rising issues in climate change and changing weather patterns. With scorching temperatures hitting the late 30 degrees, countries such as the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, and others are grappling with the best ways to help their people. This includes clarifying employment laws that would help employees make better decisions on whether to abstain from work due to hazardous weather conditions at the expense of pay. 

But what can organisations do to ensure their employees’ safety? Maylene Benitez, the Head of Human Resources at Continental Global Business Service in the Philippines shared the importance of looking into different aspects that can affect employees in extreme weather conditions, such as the daily commutes of employees, the physical working environments they are in, the facilities and resources available to these employees during working hours, and other incentives to help employees cope during these times.

One solution that Benitez recommended organisations look into included more flexible working arrangements, so that employees can work in the safety of their home, away from extreme temperatures.

“For my organisation, we only report to the office once a week so most of the time employees are working from home, thus the probability of getting heat-related illnesses is low to moderate,” Benetiz told HRM Asia. “Working from home is really a good option for employees to cope with the current heatwave.”

To ensure that these remote-working policies that have been put in place are smooth-sailing, Continental Global Business Service ensures that open communication is in place from management to employees at all levels, so that employees are not only able to understand the importance of heat prevention and management, but also that their organisations and management care about the welfare of their employees.

The first way this is done is through the education of employees. This means sending online flyers and reminders on how to stay safe while working in high temperatures, such as the importance of hydration, SPF protection and solutions, said Benitez. Employees are also given wellness webinars to understand and learn how to prevent heat-related illnesses when on the job.

READ MORE: The Philippines clarifies employee rights during heatwaves

Benitez also shared the importance of reaching out to employees to ensure that they are well, including giving them resources and items to use when on the job so that they can work and be productive. This includes a welfare package consisting of items that can be used to protect employees from the heat, such as sunscreen, face towels, bucket hats, electrolyte drinks and sources of vitamin C.

While temperatures continue to soar, these initiatives and more, are just some of the initiatives organisations can put in place to adapt workplaces and keep employees safe and productive.