Golden October: Germany enjoys sunshine and warmth

After a sunny and unseasonably warm weekend, we look at what we can expect from the weather in Germany this week.

Golden October: Germany enjoys sunshine and warmth
It was a beautiful Monday morning in Baden-Württemberg. Photo: DPA

Golden leaves, fresh air and sunshine: autumn is a beautiful season in Germany. And this weekend was no different: there were unseasonably warm temperatures of up to 27C in some parts of the country. 

It's down to a high front from southern Europe which is helping to keep temperatures high, particularly in the south and east of Germany.

In Bavaria, it reached 27C, while it was also warm in neighbouring Baden-Württemberg. In the east, many Berliners and Brandenburgers enjoyed the temperatures of around 23C for walks in parks or along the numerous lakes. Some even braved the cooler water temperatures and went for a dip.

READ ALSO: Six signs autumn has arrived in Germany

A woman swims in Baden-Württemberg on Monday morning. Photo: DPA

However, in the north and north west it's been a different story. The temperatures have not been so high there, there's been more rain – and even some storms.

And this sets the tone for the coming days. A low front moving in will bring dense clouds and rain. So make the most of the good weather if it's nice where you are.

The German Weather Service (DWD) said that from Wednesday the weather will become more unpredictable, “but it will remain mild,” DWD meteorologist Julia Fruntke said.

On Monday, temperatures in the south are forecast to rise to a warm late summer temperature of 20 to 26C. In the north the mercury reaches 14 to 19C, so it’s noticeably milder there. Occasional showers are also expected. 

The DWD tweeted a picture of the scene from their office in Offenbach on Monday, saying there were expected to be highs of 24C.

Clouds and more frequent rainfall is expected on Tuesday in the southwest and west, however in the east it should remain dry. The maximum temperatures will reach between 17 to 24C.

On Wednesday, maximum temperatures will be up to 19C and it’s looking like it will be cloudy across the country although perhaps slightly better in western regions.

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Reader question: Is it ever too hot to work from home in Germany?

Germany has regulations on working during a heatwave - but does that also apply to people who work remotely? We take a look.

Reader question: Is it ever too hot to work from home in Germany?

The number of people working from home shot up during the Covid pandemic, and though employees no longer have the right to work remotely by law, many have chosen to stick with more flexible arrangements and set up a home office at least part of the week.

This is great news for people who enjoy a lie-in more than a long commute, but there are some downsides. One major issue is that it’s not always clear how Germany’s strict employee protection rules actually apply in a home setting. The rules for working during a heatwave are a good example of this.

How does Germany regulate working in extreme heat? 

By law in Germany, employers are responsible for creating a safe environment for their workers. This means that they should try and keep the temperature below 26C at all times and are legally obliged to take action if the temperature goes above 30C. 

That could include putting blinds on the windows to prevent the glare of the sun, installing air conditioning systems or purchasing fans. In some cases – such as outdoor manual labour – it could also involve starting and finishing earlier in the day. 

And in really high temperatures, employers may simply decide to call the whole thing off and give their employees a ‘hitzefrei’ day – basically a heat-induced day off – to go and cool down in a lake. However, business owners are generally given free rein to decide how hot is too hot in this instance (except in the case of vulnerable workers). 

READ ALSO: Hitzefrei: Is it ever legally too hot to go to work or school in Germany?

Do the heat rules apply to ‘home office?’

Unfortunately not. In most cases in Germany, the company isn’t directly involved in setting up the workspace for an employee that works from home, aside from possibly providing a laptop or phone for remote use. 

“The occupational health and safety regulations regarding room temperature do not apply in this case,” labour law expert Meike Brecklinghaus told German business publication T3N. “This is because the employer does not have direct access to the employee’s workplace and in this respect cannot take remedial action.”

That means that on hot days, it’s the employee’s own responsibility to make sure the environment is suitable for working in. 

woman works from home in Germany

A woman works in her living room at home. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Daniel Naupold

One duty employers do have, however, is to instruct their workers about the best way to set up a healthy work environment at home, for example by giving guidance on how to regulate the temperature. 

“In the end, it is the employee’s responsibility to maintain his or her workplace in a condition in which he or she can perform his or her work without the threat of health impairments,” Brecklinghaus explained.

What can home office workers do in hot weather?

There are plenty of ways to keep flats cooler in the summer months, including purchasing your own fan, keeping curtains or blinds drawn and ventilating the rooms in the evening or early morning when the weather is cooler.

However, if heat is really becoming a problem, it’s a good idea to communicate this to your employer. This is especially important if you have a health condition that makes it more dangerous to work in hot weather. 

In some cases, you might be able to negotiate for the employer to pay for the purchase of a fan or mobile air conditioner as goodwill gesture. If possible, you could also arrange to travel to the office where the temperature should be better regulated.

Another option for early birds or night owls is to arrange more flexible working hours so you can avoid sweltering at your desk in the midday sun, although this of course depends on operational factors. 

READ ASO: Jobs in Germany: Should foreign workers join a union?