Mixed Gender Workplaces: Why the Ideal Temperature May Not Be “Ideal”

If there is one difference between men and women, it’s what they consider to be the ideal temperature in a room. While this battle wages in many homes, it’s also common in the workplace. In many situations, women may be shivering, while the guys are saying the temperature is just right or maybe too hot. Thus, the thermostat becomes the battleground. Unfortunately, these situations usually result in no one being happy. But if you’ve ever wondered about discrepancies between men’s and women’s perfect temperatures, the reason may be in standards set forth by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers.

Advantages of an Ideal Temperature

According to studies conducted by ASHRAE, many of the problems with temperature differentials between men and women in the workplace stem from insulation, or rather the lack thereof. The insulation used to make office buildings energy-efficient is not created to keep buildings at an optimal temperature. In fact, the standards used to determine how much insulation is used during the construction process is based on the metabolic rates of men, which explains the workplace battles.

Can An Ideal Temperature Be Found?

Since this battle appears to be never-ending, most people wonder if we can ever find an ideal temperature that will satisfy both men and women in the workplace. While that question may be hard to answer, managers do know that by doing so their work will reap numerous benefits besides many fewer complaints. Based on studies conducted through the years, finding the ideal temperature can increase morale, lower a building’s carbon footprint, and keep HVAC maintenance costs down.

Metabolism and Clothing

In addition to the insulation issue, other studies have focused on the variances in men’s and women’s metabolism as well as the types of clothing each wear to work. For example, women have lower metabolisms than men, and along with being smaller in physical size, have less surface area in which to lose heat. Along with this, some studies note that while men’s clothing changes little throughout the year, women wear lighter clothing that may leave them feeling colder even in warmer environments.

 

So while everyone waits for the engineers to make changes to the building’s insulation, a compromise appears to be the most reasonable solution for the time being.

Resources
ASHRAE
NY Times
Provincial Heating
Fortune
Body and Soul

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