Cold Offices: The Gender Gap

Ever Wondered Why Women Are Always Cold in the Office?

Recently, a study conducted by Maastricht University found that the ideal indoor temperature was identified  using only male participants. Since male and female metabolic rates (the amount of energy your body requires to maintain its physical functions) vary,  they feel comfortable at different temperatures. It was also found that the current “thermal comfort model” may overestimate women’s resting heat production by up to 35%. According to The New York Times, studies suggest women would prefer an office temperature of 75 degrees, while they currently linger around 70 degrees. Since the original study was done using a 40-year-old male weighing about 154 lbs., seniors, children, and women are left shivering indoors because of their different metabolic rates.

Lower air conditioning temperatures also affect energy costs. The U.S. Energy Department estimates that you can save about 11 percent on power bills by raising the thermostat from 72 to 77 degrees. Adjusting wardrobes may help solve the problem, but when Alan Hedge, professor of design and environmental analysis and director of Cornell’s Human Factors and Ergonomics Laboratory conducted a study where the building was warmed from 68 to 77 degrees, typos went down by 44 percent and productivity went up by 150 percent.

By taking these issues into account, organizations  can not only make the workplace a more comfortable place for women, but benefit the environment as well.

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