ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Do you shiver at your desk at work, wondering why on today of all days you didn’t wear your thermal underwear and bring an extra hoodie with you to the office?
You are not alone!
The subject is the source of a global heated debate.
This phenomenon seems to occur no matter if it’s the dead of winter or the middle of summer. Either the heat isn’t turned on or the A/C is set to freezing.
According to Fast Company, Cornell University did a study that involved secretly adjusting the thermostat at an insurance office. When temperatures were low, “employees committed 44% more errors and were less than half as productive as when temperatures were warm.”
But why are offices so cold?
According to a study published in Nature Climate Change, energy consumption in offices are based on climate standards created by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) that uses “the metabolic rates of men.”
“Current indoor climate standards may intrinsically misrepresent thermal demand of the female and senior subpopulations,” the study reported.
The study said since the climate in offices generally caters to an average man’s body heat, women generally feel colder than their male counterparts because their metabolic rate is between 20 to 32 percent lower (this is partly because, on average, they carry around a little more body fat and have fewer muscle cells, which are less active and produce less heat).
“Fat is a great insulator and because of that, the skin temperature can actually get a little bit lower in women than men,” said John Castellani, a research physiologist at the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine in Natick, Massachusetts.
According to the study, women prefer an average room temperature of 77 degrees, while men are most comfortable around 72.
Of course, the original standard was based around a 40-year-old, 154-pound man wearing a suit.
ASHRAE recommends that indoor temperatures be kept between 73 and 79 degrees, but a 2009 survey found that indoor office temperatures are often below that range and are colder than the temperature settings for winter.
Offices today often fall between 68 and 72 degrees.
Researchers in the United Kingdom figured out a way to trick workers into thinking they were warmer, by illuminating a room with yellowish-red light as opposed to a room illuminated by a blue-white light.
So, what can you do to keep yourself warm? Be passive-aggressive against your building engineers? Use a space heater (most frown upon that, since electric space heaters and flammable materials can be a fire hazard)?
According to Vantage Fit, you can try these helpful suggestions:
- Move around
- Wrap yourself in a blanket
- Get a mug warmer
- Wear cozy socks
- Get a desk lamp
- Use hand warmers
- Invest in a hot water bottle
- Wear fingerless gloves, to keep on typing
- Use a heating pad