Summertime siesta – do not disturb!

Summertime siesta – do not disturb!

The air conditioning has rocketed up in my list of priorities from ‘nice to have’ to ‘can’t live without it’. Halfway through July, even with mod cons like air con, my afternoon siesta is now non-negotiable. I know myself. I can’t write anything decent when my hands and feet are swollen and my head is thumping. For the last couple of weeks,I have been giving up, giving in and having a kip after lunch almost every day.

It is a proven fact that workplace temperature has a decisive role on workers’ performance. Heat stress causes the body to lose water and electrolytes faster and this leads to loss of focus and physical performance. In fact, according to studies, mental performance degrades well in advance when a person is working in a hot environment. This is followed by poor motor control functions which will disable the person’s ability to work efficiently.

We all know how important it is to keep our bodies hydrated with some kind of liquid. According to a recent BBC documentary, this need not be water, in fact the most effective drink for keeping the office workers hydrated in the small study was milk! I can’t think of less appetising at the moment, but whatever your preferred fluid, remember that your brain is made up of more than 90% of water. This means that if you are dehydrated, your brain cells and nerves may not function properly. Short loss of memory and poor mental concentration may occur which can then result to poor work performance and we all know what that leads to… rotten translations!

As my own boss, I am responsible for my own occupational temperature conditions and I can also opt to switch off for a couple of hours at lunchtime and retreat to my darkened bedroom, a fan and the A/C, however it wasn’t always that way. In my twenties I was a tourist guide in the Balearic Island and was often sent on daytrips with groups of tourists. The uniform was a sweaty lined skirt, sweaty shirt and tie and sweaty jacket. I often fell asleep on the coach mid-sentence and certainly did not give value for money!  Later on, when I was a teacher, however much iced coffee I drank at lunchtime trying to stay awake I would still nod off and jerk awake to see a classroom of children waiting for me to continue with the lesson. So embarrassing!

Now it’s up to me how to deal with the heat. I think the first thing I am going to do when I switch on my computer tomorrow morning will be to design myself a new email signature. I will read, “Do not disturb from 13.00 to 15.00 in July and August. The translator is having siesta”.

Juliet Allaway

Written by norak