Can we talk about office temperature?
Ladies, you know what I’m referring to. No matter the time of year, the air conditioner in your office makes each day a frigid nightmare. It’s surprising there’s no frost on your computer screen before you fire it up.
In the hot summer, the Arctic air that hits when you first walk in is welcome, for a few minutes. Then it progresses to a bone-chilling cold. You start watching the clock and turning on your space heater.
A new study published in the journal PLOS One shows nippy office temps also tend to sap women’s productivity. It makes sense. Who can focus with the constant refrain, “I’m so cold’’ running through her head?
Researchers asked participants to complete two short academic tests. One was given while the room temperature was around 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The other took place with the temperature about 91 degrees. Women performed significantly better on the verbal and math tasks when it was warm than when it was cold. Men performed better in the cooler temperatures. But, women’s improvement in the higher temperature was much greater than men’s in the lower one. The ladies seemed to be more affected by the changing temperatures than men.
Improved performance came with a greater number of answers given. That is, in the higher temperature, women answered more questions than when the room was colder. The reverse was true for men.
This raised the interesting question: Were women trying more when they were warm, and vice versa for men?
And here’s something else to ponder: If workplace temps nationwide were at a more female-friendly level, how much more amazing could American women be at work?