Wearing uniform in hot weather

July 18th, 2019

Summer has finally arrived in the UK and with the hot weather comes the need to wear lighter clothes, summer outfits, flip flops. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for some. Staying professional, smart and safe while keeping cool can be very tricky. Wearing uniform in hot weather can be challenging.

Hot. I’m putting light smart clothes on, drive my air-conditioned car to work, get in the air-conditioned office, take unnecessary layers off, sit down with a cold drink and I’m ready to work. I take a break whenever I feel like it, cool myself down with a fan and or a quick trip to the restroom, and without breaking a sweat I finish my work on time and go home.
Sounds familiar?

Yes. A typical day in the office. For some.
It’s a completely different story for others. While I am cool and relaxed at work some professionals, like police officers, builders, paramedics… are sweating buckets in their uniforms. Company requirements, as well as health & safety reasons, make it almost impossible to stay cool while working in the summer heat.

“I have to wear 3 layers when I’m on my shift, and on top of that, I wear a bullet & stab-proof vest. While I look like a professional, believe me, I am soaking wet from sweat and hot under all those layers. When I take my clothes off its not a nice view, nor a smell…but it kept me safe, so I cannot complain really” – says Mark, a police officer from Northamptonshire. “Sometimes we get a green light and swap our boots for trainers”.

While Today’s technology makes it easier to cope with the heat – air conditioning is a blessing and usually standard equipment both in the offices or vehicles. Still, that sometimes might not be enough for some of us, feeling the need to put flip flops on, shorts and a cap and go to work. But is all appropriate to wear where you work?

What is appropriate to wear to work?

So how can you stay professional at work and deal with the hot temperature? How do you know what is appropriate and safe for you to wear while on your shift?

If you want to be treated like a professional –  look like one and act like one. Remember you re not on the beach, and health and safety wear are in place for a reason. Adhere to all law, regulations. Make sure you familiarise yourself with your employer and/or customer expectations and site rules.

Finding clothes that keep you cool and dry under the uniform can be difficult. Whether it is because of the hot weather or the high intensity of your job, you want to feel comfortable while sticking to your work rules.

I know it’s easier said than done, especially for me who just sits 8 hrs in a perfectly air-conditioned office. Whether you are a lorry driver or a Police officer, there are some rules you have to follow when dressing for work on a hot day, even me. So here are few tips

Check your contract

First thing you need to check your employment contract. What’s your company dress code? Also make sure you check what your clients expect you in terms of clothing, uniform. Some might be stricter than others. If you are a professional, you need to wear special clothing for health and safety reasons.

It’s very likely that you would need to wear the correct type of safety boots, high visibility vest, and clean dark-coloured clothes regardless of the weather. During summer months speak to your clients and ask for leniency, especially if you are suffering from high blood pressure and heart issues which are exacerbated by the heat.

Don’t be tempted to wear flip-flops or sandals especially if you are a professional driver. You are ought to wear safety boots for a reason, besides you might get a hefty fine if caught wearing inappropriate footwear while on the shift, not even mentioning being banned by a client…

How to Keep Cool

  1. When getting a uniform, try to get a thinner fabric like linen or 100% cotton to let your skin breathe, or wear moisture-wicking clothing under your uniform.
  2. Stock up on water, and drink plenty of it.
  3. Your vehicle is most probably equipped with an aircon, great. Check our tips for driving in hot weather.
  4. Get a cooling cushion. Great to keep you cool while driving and at while you are having a break in a hot car, especially at night.
  5. Take a break. If available – take a quick cold shower.
  6. Have a cool treat/snack,
  7. Have spare clothes with you.

Again, it’s easier said than done. But think about it – it’s better to have a spare t-shirt and an extra bottle of water on you on a hot day, than none, isn’t it?

To those of you, ( us ) who don’t have to wear uniforms, I say think of those who do. Show some more respect on a hot day to those who keep us safe, alive, deliver our goods and all other professionals who sweat like pigs in their ‘full gear’ so that we can keep ourselves cool whether it’s in the office or at home with a bottle of a cold beverage.

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