The World Health Organisation (2019) defines health as a state of complete mental, physical and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. According to Dr. K Balanagarajan and Dr. V Gajapathy (2018) climate change has had an impact on human health and on people's feelings and emotions. The continuous exposure to heat affects employees mentally and physically.

Exposure to extreme heat without adequate protection in the workplace increases the risk of illness, therefore leading to productivity loss, for example in sectors like: manufacturing, agriculture, fisheries, construction and forestry etc. Employees that are frequently exposed to heat in the workplace have been found to suffer heatstroke, heat exhaustion, heart and kidney disease, lung disease, more injuries and accidents (Balanagarajan and Gajapathy, 2018).

Climate change does't just affect employee productivity; rising temperatures are also affecting data centre operators - it is harder to keep data centres cool (therefore the cost increases too). If the temperature continues to increase by 2025, the data centre sector could consume one-fifth of the world's available electricity. The new challenge for IT decision-makers is to provide creative solutions to manage the energy of data centres without compromising the environment and the cost of cooling (Murray, 2019).

It is a fact that global warming is causing productivity loss, stress to employees and increasing the possibility of becoming ill, as well as affecting industries (for example the agricultural and technological sector) and the world economy as a whole.

Based on these examples, should companies be more flexible with the dress code? It seems that some companies prefer to force their employees to go to the office in a suit and tie even if they feel uncomfortable, sweaty and irritable.

Some companies offer a “flexible dress code” as an extra benefit and sometimes you can even find it on job descriptions. I think that a happy and healthy work environment should be a right, not a “marketing benefit”.

It is clear that some industries have not realised our planet is changing fast and we need to adapt to it, guarantee better conditions to employees (flexible dress code, access to water and provision of protective clothing) and at the same time generate new creative solutions to reduce the economic impact of industry on our planet.

Management systems and training programs should be reviewed with environmental perspectives.

References:

Balanagarajan, K., Gajapathy, V (2018). Climate changes and its impact on employee productivity. International Journal of Applied Engineering Research (27-29). Available from https://www.ripublication.com/ijaerspl2018/ijaerv13n1spl_08.pdf

World Health Organization (2019). What is the WHO definition of health? Available from https://www.who.int/about/who-we-are/frequently-asked-questions

Murray, G (2019). Climate change is heating up the challenge to keep data centres cool. Techerati. Available from https://techerati.com/features-hub/opinions/data-centre-cooling-climate-change/