I know it sounds like one of those old wives' tales but recent studies have proven what didn't seem that strange to start with. Warmer offices are a more suitable environment for women in big city offices.
When we're sitting there shivering in our cardigans, trying to type out our expenses, and see our fingertips turn blue, we all feel like shouting 'I told you so!'. Surely we all know this?
If women – who store fat and hold internal temperatures differently from men – spend all their time slowed down and hyper-aware of their own discomfort, then what can you expect.
Of course, women will be inefficient or reluctant to engage, or easily distracted if we're so on edge and unsettled. But either way, scientists have confirmed it. Yes, men tend to be able to operate more stably at lower temperatures, but that's biological, not a trait that they independently forged.
In short, women are suffering from lower average office temperatures in a way that men aren't.
That's not fair
The argument that the cool air keeps body temperatures regulated and prevent us from being too relaxed or lethargic has long since gone out the window.
Mostly because windows have been left open! Think of all the important papers that blow out there every week!
Anyhow, I digress. I know that libraries and university seminar rooms often are kept cold to keep students alert, but there aren't dress codes in the university like there is at work.
Women in thin, work-ordained blouses will always suffer and feel self-conscious about their position. It's unfair to continue this, and the studies should provide sufficient information on the topic to push managers and office workers to make the necessary change.
About the case study…
It was conducted by around 600 students in Germany and found overall that higher office temperatures resulted in improved performances among the women that were studied.
The temperatures ranged from 16 degrees centigrade to 32 degrees centigrade (that's 60F-90F to you and me), which ensured that conditions were workable but still noticeably challenging at either end of the spectrum.
As you would presume, the opposite was the case for men, where the higher the temperature, the worse they performed. Seemingly, they hold heat too efficiently and therefore struggle to maintain sharpness and attention in increasing temperatures.
This seems to be the essential difficulty in the long-held debate.
In order to prioritize the needs of women, it seems that you have to sacrifice some productivity in men. The question is not whether it averages out, but whether we value one sex over the other.
Society and history indicate that they may perhaps be leaning in favor of men (cough, the patriarchy, cough). But there's time to change this and weigh up the options.
Who knows, there may be a happy medium between the two. A compromise of sorts that ensures neither party is too uncomfortable to work. Short of segregating people into different climatic rooms, that is!
It's not longer dismissible as a 'personal preference' or weakness found in women. Or the strength of men. It's just biology and there's nothing anyone can do about that, but make changes accordingly.
As Tom Chang, who was involved in the experiment, summed up, it's not just about 'whether you feel comfortable or not' but that performances physically change on account of 'math and verbal dimensions'.
Who knew! (Us, women. We knew!)
But that's fine, we're not bitter – just cold! Gone are the days when we just had to bring in scarves and extra jackets to the office, feeling frumpy and self-conscious. Now the data is backing us up.