Women perform better in warmer offices

CEOs need to reconsider how office temperatures impact productivity

Women perform better in warmer offices

The battle over the office thermostat is heating up after a new study provided evidence that women and men work differently when they are exposed to warmer and cooler temperatures in the office.

Women reportedly perform better on cognitive tasks when they work in warmer offices, according to new research published in the journal PLOS One.

In contrast, men are said to perform better when the office temperature is cooler.

“There’s all this evidence that women like higher temperatures, and there are some articles saying the office temperature is sexist. We were like, ‘Is this a real thing or is it just comfort?’” said Agne Kajackaite, a behavioural economics researcher and co-author of the study, in a report on TIME.

Kajackaite and her research team in Berlin asked nearly 550 female and male participants to complete verbal and mathematical tasks at varying room temperatures.

The results showed women were more focused and productive when the temperature was set higher. They answered 1.75% more math questions and 1% more verbal questions correctly for every one-degree Celsius that the room became warmer.

Men however scored slightly lower – with 0.6% more incorrect answers – when they were subjected to warmer conditions.

“When we start at low temperatures, the gender gap is huge in the math task,” said Kajackaite.

“As the temperature increases, women become better and better and better, and at some point there’s no gender gap,” she said.

While additional research is needed to explore such differences, the study revealed that the improvements in the productivity of women working in warmer temperatures was “significantly larger” than the dip in performance seen among men, the study found.

“Gender mixed workplaces may be able to increase productivity by setting the thermostat higher than current standards,” the researchers said.

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