Though summer is a flourishing season for landscape businesses, an extreme heatwave can drain your crew’s productivity and pose serious health concerns. Each crew member is acclimated to working in varied temperatures. A temperature that might be tolerable for one crew member might lead to a heat stroke for another. To protect your crew from a heat-triggered downtime, here are some landscaping crew management essentials to keep in mind for heatwaves.
Ensure The Basics: A Heat-Friendly Attire
Making a conscious decision on what your crew wears on the job can significantly impact their health and productivity. A combination of lighter colors and breathable fabrics are the best choices for summer. While many landscape businesses have polo t-shirts as the company uniform, it is a great idea to have a cotton company t-shirt alternative for the sweltering days. You can also opt for a long-sleeved uniform to add a protective layer for their arms and save them from possible sunburn.
A smart move to balance both functionality and environmental conditions is choosing a wide-brimmed hat over a baseball cap. The wider brim prevents the face from direct sunlight and usually provides more ventilation than a baseball cap.
Encourage the use of sunscreen. Although this is at the discretion of the crew member’s comfort level, explaining to them the benefits of making sunscreen a part of their work attire can save them from sun damage.
Cooling Towels: How They Work
Using cooling towels has been an age-old method to lower body temperature. Though many branded self-cooling towels are available in the market, usually made of either PVA or microfibre materials, you could choose to go for the regular weave dishtowel by dipping it in cold water. All cooling towels work on evaporative cooling fundamentals- using the moisture trapped in the towel to increase the cooling sensation on the skin by absorbing the body heat. This technique of using moisture to regulate body temperature particularly works better in a non-humid environment. In a humid climate, the towel’s cooling effect is slow and short-lived as the air already contains a lot of humidity, hence slowing the evaporation process.
Plan Well for an Early Start
A well-planned schedule can save you significant time in the day. Monitor the weather so that you know which days need an earlier start. Make the most of the morning shifts by scheduling your first job for the day as early as possible. This strategy can be executed if planned in advance, as you have to coordinate the shift times with your customers. An early start to the day leaves you with plenty of time to either end the day early or accommodate for breaks and delays because of the harsh weather.
Know When To Call It A Day
A hardworking crew does push limits, but you should know when to call it a day.
Landscaping crew management comes with responsibility for productivity and safety. At any time if you feel the heat is becoming a productivity or safety hazard, it is better to plan a break or end the day. In this planning, it is crucial to keep open communication with your crew members. Keep a constant check on how they feel, if any crew member feels overheated or disoriented, seek immediate medical help. Meanwhile, try cooling off remedies like shifting the person under the shade or a low-temperature area, spraying water mist or placing a wet towel on the head.
Adopt a Collaborative Style of Landscaping Crew Management: Be the Boss That Cares
Working on days with heat warnings can take a toll on your team. Creating a culture that allows your crew to adjust their work and breaks keeping their well-being in mind goes a long way. Training them in advance to take care of their safety is essential. Making them well aware of a heatwave’s warning signs and how they can protect and recover themselves from heatstroke is integral to landscaping crew management. Most importantly, ensuring they always have access to enough water and stay hydrated. Just as grass thrives when watered, your crew strides when well hydrated.