Ice cream and slushies! How UK and European fintech is combating the heatwave

By John Reynolds on Tuesday 19 July 2022

FeaturesAlternative LendingDigital BankingSavings and Investment

UK and European fintech is countering the extreme heat by allowing staff to WFH; stocking fridges with cold provisions; serving up salads; while first aiders are at the ready.

Ice cream and slushies! How UK and European fintech is combating the heatwave
Image source: OakNorth barista/ OakNorth

Plenty of slushies and ice creams with adult first aiders at the ready in case of an accident is the order of the week.

No, we are not talking about a kids’ summer holiday camp but some of the provisions and measures UK and European fintech is hurrying in this week to combat the soaring temperatures.

AltFi spoke to a range of fintechs from the UK and beyond to see how they were keeping employees cool, both physically and temperament-wise, in their workplaces, amid the heat wave.

Would they be relaxing dress codes? Allowing staff to WFH? Moving workstations away from hot places? Opening windows as wide as possible? Handing out fans left right and centre?

Yes, it was all the above with a big dollop of ice cream too.

First up Scandinavia, where UK fintech can cast an envious gaze, as it was only 22 degrees yesterday and rainy in Denmark.

Lunar

But Danish neobank Lunar has tailored provisions for today (Tuesday), when temperatures are expected to hit 30 degrees.

Only one in three employees will be in the office and those brave souls will be rewarded with a fridge brimming with ice cream and a liberal dispersal of fans.

N26

In Germany, meanwhile, N26 is today organising an “ice cream day”, complete with ice cream stands in its Berlin, Barcelona, Madrid, Vienna, Paris and Milan offices “where employees can get scoops of their favourite ice creams to cool down”.

Reaching for the corporate handbook, N26 also points out to AltFi that during extreme temperatures, its “remote working allowance can cover cooling systems for employee's homes to ensure that their home office environment remains suitable for work”.

Revolut

Revolut, which has offices in cities including London, Singapore, Berlin and New York, says its 100 per cent flexible working policy means employees can “choose to work early or late in the evening to avoid the hottest part of the day”.

Revolut’s offices are all fully air-conditioned and, in its London office, is providing free ice lollies to help staff stay cool.

A Revolut spokesperson adds the fintech also offers employees “two paid wellbeing days”, on top of annual leave, which can be taken at short notice.

OakNorth

In London, business lender OakNorth is serving up iced coffees from its barista bar to counter the heat, a move that OakNorth reports back has proved so popular with staff that it’s likely to become a permanent addition.

Heat-oppressed OakNorth employees might also be tempted by the office ice machine, so they can make slushies and keep their drinks cool. 

For the first time, the business bank is also serving up a free salad bar lunch (replacing the usual fare of pizzas and wraps), which could also prove a hit with the health-conscious.

Wise

Another London-headquartered fintech Wise, like many fintechs, is allowing employees to work from home this week in line with government guidance.

For those heading into the office, the payments fintech boasts a “very powerful” air con system and ice cream in the office kitchen freezer.

Zopa

Also in the capital is Zopa, which says it has first aiders at the ready and, like others, has issued guidance on hydration, avoiding the sun between 11am and 3pm, and to WFH where possible.

A Zopa spokesperson said  the fintech, which allows employees to work from abroad for up to 120 days a year, "is wired for remote and flexible work, making the business and our staff resilient in times of extreme weather conditions".

Funding Circle

In a similar vein, “Circlers” [Funding Circle employees} have no obligation to come into the office amid the clamouring heat.

A spokesperson for Funding Circle said the fintech has asked staff “to take sensible precautions this week and make sure they put their safety and wellbeing first”. 

For the office-bound, Funding Circle’s office is fully air-conditioned and it is serving up iced lattes and, wait for it, ice cream.

Fintech co-working space in Ireland- Galway City Innovation District

And finally, for those in co-working spaces, things have followed a similiar pattern.

Mary Rogers, the CEO of Galway City Innovation District,  which houses a fintech co-working space, says workers were getting in earlier yesterday and leaving earlier.

She said: “Last year, when the heatwave hit we bought a number of fans and we had them on their desks before they got in yesterday.

"And we delivered ice pops around noon and again in the afternoon. Nobody is complaining. They are working shorter days.”

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