Isn’t it great to feel like we’re having a proper summer for a change – at least I hope it does where you are too …! But when it’s hot and sunny outside, it can be hard to stay cool and focused inside.

So today’s article offers six simple suggestions to remain cooler during your working day, which should hopefully lead to better productivity and focus when it comes to your work.

1. Dress-down

Drop the office attire and dress down. Surely it’s better to remain alert, cool and productive than keel over from heat exhaustion by wearing a suit?

For those of you who like to get into the ‘work zone’ by wearing smart office wear every day, it’s okay to ditch the suit when temperatures soar. If you’re worried about your client image, try not to arrange too many (if any) meetings at this time of year, so you can revert to wearing light summer dresses, shorts and vest tops, or even a bikini if it helps you stay cooler.

Lightweight cotton fabrics in lighter colours are the best as they absorb perspiration and reflect the sun, helping you feel cool and fresh.

2. Invest in a fan

If you don’t have air con (and why would you if you live in the UK) then a fan is the next best thing.

For a small cost you can buy a stand up fan to place in the corner of the room to get the air moving – just make sure it’s not pointing directly at that pile of paperwork on your desk …

3. Drink plenty of water

The daily recommended amount of water an adult should consume each day is 2.7 litres (about 10 glasses). During hotter weather you should increase this slightly, but only if needed. Listen to your body.

I find when I start to feel a bit sluggish and my concentration wanes, it’s primarily down to water intake. Once I’ve downed a refreshing glass of cold water, my energy levels perk up again.

So next time you start to fade, grab yourself a glass of water. Not only will it cool you down, it will help ensure those essential nutrients flow round the body efficiently.

Another good tip is to run your wrists under cold water for a few seconds every hour which helps to cool the blood. I can assure you, it’s amazingly effective.

4. Take your office outside

One of the biggest benefits of being a Virtual Assistant and working from home, is the ability to work wherever you want.

So why stay indoors?

Set yourself up in a shaded area outside and enjoy the cool breeze and fresh air. If you don’t have any outdoor space, or if your WiFi doesn’t reach, find a task that allows you to be away from your computer and head out to your local park to work on it.

Having flexibility is one part of the job us VAs love. So make the most of it while the sun is shining, who knows how long it will continue to stick around!

5. Eat smaller meals

Help your body concentrate solely on regulating its temperature and not give it the additional job of digesting a heavy meal. The larger the meal – the more metabolic heat will be generated to break down the food – the hotter your body becomes.

So stick with smaller lighter meals during these warm summer months.

6. Choose your hours

Being a VA has plenty of plus points. Even more so when it’s hot outside. For many of us we have the flexibility of being able to choose the hours we work. So as long as you continue to meet client deadlines, why not take advantage of the ability to work first thing in the morning, last thing at night, or during the wee small hours?

Nine to five … what’s that!

Instead try starting your day at 6am and work through until 10am. Then stop during the heat of the day. Go outside. Play with the kids. Go to the beach or park. Have fun and clear your mind in the fresh air, before settling back down to complete the remainder of your work between 4pm and 7pm.

Remember, being a VA puts you in the fortunate position of being in control of your work life. What you wear, the location of your office and the hours you set. So rather than lose focus and risk producing poor work, change things to fit in with the weather.

Embrace your virtual lifestyle and the freedom it can offer!