chilly woman office

Study Shows Women More Productive in Warmer Offices

  May 28, 2019

By Greg Zimmerman

One of a facility manager’s biggest challenges is to make everyone in an office comfortable with the temperature. That’s especially true considering women generally prefer a warmer office, whereas men prefer it a bit cooler. This issue even came up during a New York gubernatorial debate last year, during which candidate Cynthia Nixon and incumbent Andrew Cuomo couldn’t agree on a temperature.

But getting the right temperature isn’t just important for comfort. It’s also important for productivity. A recent German study showed that women were much more productive in warmer temperatures than in chillier, according to an article in The Atlantic reporting on the study. The study basically compared how women and men do on logic problems at different temperatures. “When the room was warmer, women answered more questions on the math and verbal tests, and got more questions right,” according to the piece.

What’s more, “The men, meanwhile, did better at cooler temperatures, but their decrease in performance at warmer temperatures was not as great as women’s gains.”

It seems reasonable, then, to extrapolate this study to productivity in an office environment. So it’s up to facility managers to find that happy medium where both men and women can be at peak productivity. No small task, that.

Greg Zimmerman is executive editor of Building Operating Management. Read his cover story on how buildings are tackling climate change.


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