We all know the struggle. It doesn’t matter what month or season it is — it could be negative degrees in the middle of winter or triple digits in mid-August, but your office is freezing cold. Although you may be in a sleeveless top and a pencil skirt to brave the heat walking from your car, your warmest cardigan has a permanent place on the back of your office chair. At previous jobs, my desk has been so cold that I’ve resorted to hauling in a space heater and a warm blanket to use, because I physically cannot handle how cold the office is. In hundred-plus degree Southern summer heat, we all know it’s not to save on the electricity bill – no, it’s to suit the men.
We’ve all had the temperature debates with our boyfriends, male friends, or husbands in our houses or in our cars – we’re cold, they’re hot, and whoever makes the biggest fit about it is going to win. Unfortunately, it isn’t that way in the office. Some scientists decided to get to work on this temperature problem and figured out what exactly is going on. It turns out that the majority of office buildings set their temperature lower based on a formula using the metabolic rate of the average male.
This formula was developed in the sixties, when most office employees were men, and if there were female office members, they likely weren’t at the executive or decision-making level. If you’re really interested in the science and want to check out the formula, you can do so here, but the TL;DR version that you came here for is that this formula that was used to calculate office temperature did so based on what, biologically, was the most comfortable for the men in the office. And 50 years later, we haven’t changed it one bit, although women now make up half of the workforce.
To prove that the women weren’t just nagging all of the men in their lives, these male scientists put them to the test. They studied their metabolic rates, and as it turns out, they’re significantly different than the metabolic rates for men, meaning that they actually DO need warmer working temperatures – most women were physiologically most comfortable at around 75 degrees, as opposed to the 70 degrees that the men prefer.
So if half of the workforce prefers one temperature while the other half prefers another, how do we resolve this problem? Our scientists have come up with two options. First, we could adapt the formula used to calculate the average metabolic rate of all of the office workers, which would, of course, now include the females, raising the average office temperature by a couple of degrees. However, they recognize that we’re still in a male-dominated society and that seems unlikely, so they offered an alternative – err in favor of the environment. Scientists believe that the excessive use of A/C in the summer is harming the environment and contributing to global warming (as well as higher electric bills), so we should be raising the temperatures anyway for the sake of the Earth.
For the sake of the fairer, harder-working, and prettier sex, let’s all agree to raise the office temperatures just a teensy bit, because yes, we really are freezing cold. We’ll stop wearing ridiculous looking snuggies in our offices, and we may just quit complaining – and if that’s not worth being slightly warm, I don’t know what is..
[via New York Times]
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