Women Perform Better At Work If The Office Temp Isn’t Set To Frigid

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cold office

Image: iStock / shironosov

If you’ve ever worked in an office setting before, then you probably understand this on a deeper level. For some reason, offices are kept at an absolutely frigid temperature! Like, universally, all over the place. That thermostat never goes above what feels like 58 degrees, no matter what time of year it is. In some places, we can see the need for this. If you’re a mortician or work in a meat locker, for example. But other places don’t need to be so cold! And it’s always the women who suffer the brunt of the frigid temps. We have to bring sweaters and space heaters to work just to make it bearable. Turns out, office temperature affects more than just our physical comfort. According to a new study, women actually perform better when the temp is warmer. Damn the man for holding us back!

Researchers found that office temperature can positively or negatively affect how women perform in the workplace.

office temperature

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The study, published in the journal PLOS One, looked at the disparities in the workplace when it comes to office temperature. Researchers studied 500 German students recruited to perform a series of cognitive tasks. The students were asked to do things like add double-digit numbers, make words out of random 10-letter sequences, and solve various word problems. The temperature in the room they were in varied between 61 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

What they found probably won’t shock you if you’re a woman. As the temps got warmer, women performed better in both math and verbal tasks. But, as the office temperature got higher, men actually performed worse on the same tasks. There wasn’t a big difference in terms of how many questions they got wrong. However, says the study’s lead author, Agne Kajackaite, the data is important since the temperature preferences in workplaces typically vary by more than a single degree.

So how do you explain the difference in performance based on office temperature?

freezing kate mckinnon GIF by Saturday Night Live

Image: Giphy/@SNL

Women and men have roughly the same core body temperature. In fact, some studies have found that women’s core body temp may actually be slightly higher. But our perception of temperature depends more on skin temperature. And thanks to all the lovely hormones we produce, that tends to be much lower in women than in men.

But it’s about more than just comfort level, as this study shows. Says Kajackaite, “When we start at low temperatures, the gender gap is huge in the math task. As the temperature increases, women become better and better and better, and at some point there’s no gender gap.” That’s pretty damn important!

The lesson here: if you work in a cold office, it’s time to take up that thermostat fight. And once the office is warmer, show all those men who’s boss, ladies.