When the coronavirus pandemic was declared in the spring of 2020, many companies turned to remote work. It allowed employees to keep their jobs while staying safe.
For some people, this was also seen as the perfect opportunity to live the digital nomad’s dream lifestyle. And as the months dragged on with no definite timeline for returning to normal, the onset of winter weather had many remote workers longing for refuge in warmer climates.
However, remote work is here to stay. Many companies are embracing these arrangements as part of their long-term plans. You can definitely take advantage of the location-independent lifestyle and work by the beach, with sunny weather all year round.
Still, working from home in a warm climate comes with some potential downsides. Here’s what you need to know to avoid any impact on your performance.
Stay within the comfort zone
Anyone who’s lived in a cool region will associate the comfort of home with warmth and modern heating systems. But in tropical weather, those conditions are the default and prove excessive.
You might actually be looking forward to the idea of basking in the sun on your porch and getting some tan on while working from home. But keep in mind that weather extremes hit the tropics even harder. Heatwaves have been a health issue for workers, and due to global warming, that trend is set to continue.
In temperate zones, humidity is mostly a consideration when dealing with bathroom vanity suppliers for a remodel. In the tropics, excessive moisture in the air can frequently cause discomfort and make hot conditions feel even more oppressive.
The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommends a specific range of conditions for optimal thermal comfort for desk-bound workers. That falls within 72-80°F and 30-60% relative humidity.
Your primary instrument in achieving these conditions will be your HVAC. Don’t forget to take advantage of the programmable thermostat. It keeps things comfortable if you have to head out and helps maintain the builder recommendation of no greater than 6°F variation across rooms in the house.
Ensuring adequate ventilation and sealing throughout the home is vital to keeping conditioned air indoors. You may want to bring in supplemental dehumidification methods as well.
Working with other variables
Temperature and humidity are the two most important factors contributing to comfort, as cited by ASHRAE. But they are also the easiest to measure and regulate.
Everybody will have their own individual preferences when it comes to other variables. And these can also have an impact on your level of comfort during the typical workday at your home office.
Metabolic activity affects perceptions of thermal comfort. For the average desk job, this isn’t too high. But if you do chores around the house on a hot day, you’ll notice the difference. It gets even more pronounced if you plan to exercise regularly as part of your remote working routine.
Clothing helps to regulate thermal comfort as well. A T-shirt and knee-length skirt or shorts is typical comfortable summerwear. However, dressing in a long-sleeved jacket and trousers can elevate discomfort by nearly the same factor as getting up from your chair and engaging in light to moderate activity. Keep that in mind when you consider attire for your next video call.
Another variable you can manipulate is the time of day when you work. Thermal variations are lowest in the early morning, after an extended period of evening cooling. Late afternoon and early evening are subject to greater fluctuations. If you can do so without impacting your circadian rhythms, adjust your work hours accordingly.
Mind your energy use
If you’re serious about long-term remote work in a warm climate, you’ll also want to keep an eye on your energy consumption.
Building or remodeling a home gives you the chance to incorporate some passive cooling techniques into the design. Planting shade trees in the direction of the rising sun, for instance, will help reduce the home’s heat absorption over the course of the day.
Windows facilitate passive ventilation but are also a potential source of thermal absorption. To counteract this effect, a combination of window shading and solar-reflecting glass can be used.
Finally, a compact structure tends to heat up easily. Adding a second floor or improving the ventilation and insulation of the roof can combat this effect in warm climates, making the first floor conducive to work.
Relocate to the tropics, and most days, you’ll be blessed with warm weather. But on those occasions when conditions get extreme, these tips will help you work from home in comfort.</br