The National Trust, which protects and maintains heritage locations across the UK, is set to give employees a Mediterranean-inspired work schedule with longer lunch breaks, citing fluctuating temperatures due to climate change.
A spokesperson for the charity told the Guardian on Wednesday that “as we experience more extreme temperatures,” they “will be looking to offer Mediterranean working hours” to their English employees, “especially in the east which is likely to experience more frequent higher temperatures.”
Adjusting working hours as temperatures rise would “ensure the health and safety of our staff and volunteers,” the charity added.
The Guardian reported that the Mediterranean hours would include a long lunch to avoid the hottest part of the day – made up for with an earlier start and a later finish.
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According to the Guardian, the proposed shifts have already been trialled at Ham House and Garden in London’s Richmond-upon-Thames, where employees “are offered the new working hours when it is hot.” Other National Trust locations are also expected to utilize Mediterranean working hours in the near future.
The National Trust has repeatedly warned that its properties are “under threat” from climate change, claiming that the “rising temperatures are damaging some of the finest paintings in our care.”
“We’re having to make building alterations to cope with flooding and manage the effects of a changing coastline and rising sea levels,” the charity also claimed, adding that “almost three quarters of the most important land in our care is vulnerable to climate change.”
Ham House could allegedly face some of the toughest challenges due to climate change.
“The rapid increase in heat and humidity experienced here means that 40C days could become common by 2040, which means the head gardener now ‘applies a climate change perspective to every single action in the garden,’” the National Trust said in March.
The ‘climate change perspective’ consists of “altering the types of plants introduced to include those more resilient to high temperatures like cannas and agaves,” and the National Trust warned that “a Mediterranean grown diet of outdoor grown aubergines, chillies and a long tomato season could become the norm.”
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