Some like it hot! Why women prefer warmer temperatures
The battle of the sexes is being fought over air conditioning - women prefer warmer temperatures.
Look around any office on a hot summer’s day. The men are all sweating in their shirtsleeves and asking to turn the air conditioning higher, while the women are plugging in space heaters under their desks. According to building engineers M.E. Group uncomfortable temperatures are the most common complaint people make about their workplace. [Tweet "Research shows that women prefer warmer temperatures to men."]
Lab experiments reveal men are most comfortable at around 22oC (72F) while for women it’s about 25oC (77F). It’s not just because women are generally smaller. Men and women have roughly the same core temperature but men tend to have a greater blood flow to their skin, so they feel warmer on the outside even though they’re the same on the inside. [Tweet "Men also sweat more, making a too-warm office especially uncomfortable for them."]
Most workplaces have centrally controlled air conditioning, often with no settings except ‘on’ and ‘off’. America’s federal offices all have their air conditioning set by the General Services Administration’s Washington, DC headquarters – that’s 9,000 offices across the country, with 2.1 million employees, all set to the same temperature. Modern buildings have adjustable thermostats in each room, which helps, but doesn’t stop the gender divide within shared offices.
The fact is that most air conditioning systems are designed to the same template. Building engineers use a standardised set of temperature guidelines – the Standard 55, published by built environment specialists ASHRAE, is the most popular. These guidelines are based on metabolic rates, the rate at which humans need to burn calories to keep warm. The trouble is that the standard metabolic rate is set for a 70kg man, aged 40, wearing a business suit. When the Standard 55 was first published in 1966, this was a fairly close representation of the average office worker; not so much today. A 2015 study showed that not only do women prefer warmer temperatures, they also feel tempe
Workplace dress codes don’t help. Most offices insist that men wear ties and long trousers in all seasons, and most don't change their summer wardrobe from their winter one. Women are allowed to dress more appropriately for hot weather -or are they just smarter about dressing for the right temperature? Read: How to dress for summer in the city Bjarne Oleson, who sits on ASHRAE’s board of directors, says that mismatched dress codes are the reason women prefer warmer temperatures: “Women adapt their clothing to summer conditions while men are still wearing [a] suit and tie. [Tweet "So if the thermostat is set to satisfy the men, the women will complain about being too cold.”"]
Innovations like ‘smart’ electronic cooling systems promise a high-tech solution to the air conditioner wars.
But really, wouldn’t it be easier to turn the thermostat up a bit and men get with it and wear lighter weight clothes to the office in the summer?
This is even true across other species – female rats are more sensitive to cold than males are. And hormonal fluctuations affect women’s comfort too – they tend to have a hotter core temperature when ovulating and be colder just before their period.
If you’re struggling with workplace issues and want to boost your confidence book a mentoring session here
Found that interesting?
Learn more about our services
Make your dreams a reality with a professional evaluation of your career to date.
The evidence is in. More women in your company can deliver 35% greater financial returns. (Catalyst)
Dates for the Diary
JUNE 6-8TH 2019 - OMBUDSPERON EUROPEAN WOMEN’S LOBBY BRUSSELS
Download and listen free podcasts
How to Create an Effective USP What is a USP? Our Unique Selling Point or UVP (Unique Value Proposition) is our key core message about where...read more
How to Rethink the Modern Workplace for Gender Equality New research shows that diversity and inclusion is a top priority for leaders. So why...read more
Menopause in the workplace In this podcast with Nicki Williams award winning author, keynote speaker and Founder of Happy Hormones for Life,...read more
How to Cultivate Empathy in the Workplace Nancy Milton, international business communications expert, keynote speaker and author, share some vital...read more
Taking Care of your COW Tanvi Guatam, international Personal Branding expert says there is a misconception out there that a personal brand is...read more
The importance of Hard Talk Dawn Metcalfe, author of Managing the Matrix and Hard Talk, shares with us tips to achieve the lasting communication...read more
When Does Female Rivalry Turn into Sabotage There’s a lot of stuff written on social media about female rivalry and competition between women. Some...read more
Goal setting tips to boost your career The happiest people are those that really love their jobs. Those that don’t, dread Sunday nights and...read more
Sexism: How to stage a Bystander Intervention in the Workplace In this power coaching podcast, we're going to tackle one of the questions...read more
How to Get Noticed by Head Hunters & Recruiters In this power coaching podcast, we're going to tackle one of the questions asked multiple...read more
Find out how women upskill their careers, which is vital not just to boost your career progression, but to protect your employment opportunities.read more
Last minute networking doesn’t work, so here our some of our best tips on how to keep up with your network on a more regular basis.read more
While men dominate positions of power, and are used as the standard model, invisible women suffer the consequences.read more