An interesting assumption is being made here. It’s entirely true that optimal temperatures – on average of course – for men and women are different. Hmm, no, humans themselves are the same temperature, we mean environmental temperature in which the human is placed. Men’s greater muscle mass means they function best at slightly lower temperatures than women do.
OK, all that’s well known and this recent research just shows it all again. What’s interesting though is what should be done about it. The assumption being, well, odd:
Women perform far worse when offices are too cold, study finds
Yes, it’s known.
“People invest a lot in making sure their workers are comfortable and highly productive. This study is saying even if you care only about money, or the performance of your workers, you may want to crank up the temperature in your office buildings.”
And it’s the underlying assumption there that’s so fascinating.
So, women do better with a higher temperature, couple of degrees or so. Men actually do worse at this higher temperature. It’s not just improvement in the one, there’s deterioration in the other. Thus, they’re saying, the optimal outcome is the higher – to suit the women. Which is how we thought it would go, right?
Except that’s to make an assumption. Which is that humans don’t have individual temperature regulation. Which, of course, we do. We don’t have, not at this level at least, individual and mechanical temperature lowering. We can’t claim sweat works here because that’s already accounted for in the lower performance numbers. We do though have individual and mechanical temperature raising.
That’s exactly what clothes are and do. Thus the optimal solution is to set the ambient temperature for the group which prefers it lower. Anyone else having the option of another or thicker layer of clothing.
Precisely because our temperature regulation technology is asymmetric – we insist upon a minimum level of clothing but claim no maximum – office temperature should be set for men, not women.