After taking some vacation time and enjoying a long weekend at the lake to beat the heat, Dean was not thrilled to rejoin the workforce on Monday, with summer temperatures still lingering in the unbearable low 100s. Deciding to take a little bit of the lake to work with him, Dean showed up wearing a pair of board shorts, a polo shirt, and some sandals, thinking that in light of the heat his boss wouldn’t mind some less professional attire. To his surprise, a Board meeting had been scheduled the previous week in his absence for Monday morning. Dean had no choice but to attend the meeting to discuss the status of a project with the suit-wearing Board Members, who were less than amused by his casual dress.

Trying to stay cool is a top priority for most of us when the sweltering heat of summer hits. At home, it is easy to kick back in a pair of shorts and some flip flops, but with many industries requiring professional attire in the workplace, how do you keep cool and avoid melting on the job?

Of course air conditioning and fans help, but many are tempted to wear office inappropriate attire when the temperatures rise. There are a number of ways to meet in the middle when dealing with inclement weather, a heat wave being just as troublesome as frigid conditions in the winter.

• Review Company Policies – This time of year, take the opportunity to review your company’s policies on personal appearance and attire. Consider modifying the policy to include exceptions, such as casual dress during inclement weather, and make certain to provide examples of what is/is not appropriate as part of this exception.

• Consider Telecommuting Options – With technology offering opportunities to work from home, many employees may prefer to stay in their temperature-regulated houses during heat waves. Staying comfortable will often mean more productivity, so allowing this option for applicable positions it is a great alternative to ensure that the job still gets done.

• Be Flexible – Warm weather dress codes can be difficult to define, let alone enforce. Make certain that some resolute standards are in place, then allow for some flexibility beyond that. Trust your employees to use good judgment in deciding what is and is not appropriate around those guidelines as every position and situation is different.

While the summer season is typically more laid back than its counterparts, communicate your policy (possibly modified for the warmer months) clearly to employees to avoid any problems. Make sure your employees know to use good judgment and inform them of the best rule of thumb when deciding if an article of clothing is appropriate or not: when in doubt, don’t.