Woman at laptop

Linked: More women than men feel uncomfortably cold at the office, and it’s impacting their work performance

Look, work from home eliminates this. So it’s clearly a diversity “plus” to let people work at a temperature they control and are most comfortable with, right?

“Temperature discomfort is one of the most common sources of complaint within office environments. In particular, research suggests that excessively cold office temperatures are a frequent issue. Notably, studies also suggest that women bear the brunt of the discomfort, being disproportionately affected by cold offices.”

There’s no reason for this in so many offices. We can, possibly, eliminate the climate impacts of overcooling office space, and the impact on the productivity of people who are impacted by this by not having one.

Seriously, though, this is absolutely one of the benefits of remote work. Getting to design the workplace that is the most comfortable for you, rather than trying to find some “setting” that everyone can live with. It’s yet another area where employees can experience flexibility instead of fitting into some generic situation that isn’t really good for anyone.

But, for those folks who are working in an office, why are they so cold?

More women than men feel uncomfortably cold at the office, and it’s impacting their work performance

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  1. As someone who is perpetually cold, let alone in overcooled offices, I’ve read a few studies on this and the reason seems to be physiological in nature. For most women, 75F is the temperature at which they feel most comfortable in an office (for me it’s more like 78F, but that’s me). For men, that temperature is 70F. So guess where office thermostats are set? At 70F, come cold or heat.

    The physiological reasons for the discrepancy probably have to do with the higher average muscle mass that most men have compared to women.

    It absolutely does affect performance. At a previous job, where I was working remotely, I attended multi-day, in-office team-training meetings. One of the senior managers believed that the best way to keep everyone focused was to set the temperature to 65F as it was so “invigorating” and “bracing”. I was so cold that all I wanted to do was crawl under an oversized blanket and sleep. Cold temperatures make me sleepy. Every time he walked out of the room, I’d bump up the thermostat to 75F. ?

    1. Somehow, none of that surprises me. I have run into the folks who think keeping things cold will “invigorate” people but I’ve always been of the opinion that if I’m thinking about the temperature, then it’s just one more distraction. Ideally, I don’t even notice it.

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