Cold offices impact productivity in female workers: study

A new study believes that cold offices impact the productivity levels of female workers, and the reverse is true in males. When will we ever see peace?



Those fortunate enough to work in an office know that the number on the air conditioning is the single greatest source of conflict. However, while the argument has long been around the subjective means of comfort, a new study believes the median temperature of our workspace also impacts our productivity.

Side note, your average office building is lazy, as the default temperature is apparently based on a decades-old formula which is based on the metabolism an average 40-year-old, 70-kilogram chap. One that presumably micromanages you.

Back to the study, and the results are based on the tests of 543 college students, who were tasked to solve a series of tasks to solve (logic, math and word scrambles) in either a chilly room or one with the heater on. To mimic a workplace environment, each student was given a cash reward for each correct answer.

The divergence in the data arrived in the math results, as authors found that female students performed better when the room was set to warmer temperatures: at the warmer end of the 16-to-33 degree range. What was similarly notable was the magnitude of the differences. For example, when there was a one-degree difference in room temperature, the female math scores jumped by 2%.

Conversely, the authors found the exact opposite trend in their male participants.

“The increase in female cognitive performance appears to be driven largely by an increase in the number of submitted answers,” the authors explain.

“We interpret this as evidence that the increased performance is driven in part by an increase in effort. Similarly, the decrease in male cognitive performance is partially driven by a decrease in observable effort.”

“Ultimately, our results potentially raise the stakes for the battle of the thermostat, suggesting that it is not just about comfort, but also about cognitive performance and productivity,” they conclude.

Great, further division. Can’t wait.

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