By Majd Othman

KUWAIT: Summer in Kuwait passed with dust storms, humidity and very high temperatures caused by global climate change. These weather fluctuations were a challenge for employees to maintain their productivity levels. Kuwait Times spoke to human resource expert Aref Abdullah Al-Ajmi and discussed with him the effects of this issue locally.

"It has been noted that there has been changes in the performance of employees during the current summer period. High temperature is absolutely the main reason, which led to workers getting angry quickly and boredom at work, and their psychological state was poor,” he said. Ajmi pointed out that as a result of weather fluctuations, there has been a negative effect on the workflow and level of productivity.

Aref Abdullah Al-Ajmi

“Companies, especially in the private sector, requires a certain level of productivity, regardless of the circumstances, which puts pressure on the employees and unfortunately pushes them to a breaking point," he said. “Employee productivity in hot countries improves in the winter, while in cold countries, we see productivity improves in the summer due to the psychological factor that plays a very big role. Despite the presence of air conditioning in most workplaces and commercial complexes in Kuwait, the impact of high temperatures on employees is linked to another aspect, which is traffic jams. This consumes most of their energy and enthusiasm to work, especially in the summer, after staying under the sun for a long time and arriving to work to get tasks done,” Ajmi said.

Regarding suggestions that can contribute to improving the productivity of employees during the summer period, he said: "The problem of the private sector in Kuwait is that it is not governed by any government regulatory bodies represented by the Civil Service Commission, which no longer bears any responsibility towards the private sector, especially during the last three years. In terms of improving the work environment, for example, the official leave decisions issued by the bureau are specific to the government sector only without any interest in the private sector. So there must be a greater and effective role in following up with the private sector.”

Ajmi said: "I agree with the idea that the private sector should have a free market that does not harm their interests, but what must be realized is that private sector companies in Kuwait operate in an exceptional environment with severe weather fluctuations during the summer period and a significant rise in temperature, so there must be alternative solutions that increase work productivity and improve the work environment of employees, such as setting regulations for private sector companies that contribute to adapting to climate fluctuations, raising employee productivity and reducing traffic jams, as well as allowing employees to spend more time with their families.”

Ajmi added: "It is also possible for many sectors to shift towards remote work, especially since during the pandemic some companies resorted to online work and it was a successful experience for them, in addition to organizing annual vacations for employees spread throughout the summer period, especially since it is during the summer that business movement will be slower. This will contribute to alleviating the impact of the severity of summer on them and reduce traffic congestions at the same time.”