My colleague and I have complained to each other about the chilly breeze coming from a device which really should've been just another way to make life convenient, but for us, quickly became one we quietly have come to despise.

The dreaded air conditioner.


For as long as I can remember, neither I nor my equally annoyed colleague had decided to speak up about the way the air conditioner was affecting us and instead, resorted to ensuring that we had brought extra layers of clothing to work.

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While it did help to bring some warmth to thaw my icicle toes and fingers, it isn't always comfortable being draped in jackets, jerseys, and scarves in front of your computer at work.

Also, sinusitis and sneezing tend to result from that aircon breeze. 

The way I described it, you've probably imagined how hard it must be to produce a decent amount of work while your teeth are chattering, and you're often so busy trying to keep warm that you're not busy actually working.

However, for some reason, complaining about an aircon just doesn't seem right, and so we decided to suffer in silence.

That is, until a study discovered that the temperature of the air conditioner in your office actually causes a decrease in productivity for women.

According to CBS, office temperatures are based on the metabolic rates of men and are therefore set to accommodate them, completely disregarding the needs of women, who it turns out, function better in a warmer environment.

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Researchers Tom Chang from USC's Marshall School of Business and Agnes Kajackaite from Germany's WZB Berlin Social Science Center conducted an experiment to see exactly how much office temperatures affected both men and women.

Using data accumulated from 500 students who were asked to perform think-tasks such as solving math equations and completing assignments all while changing the temperature from a chilly 16 degrees to a much warmer 31 degrees.

They then measured how quickly and successfully both men and women were able to complete these tasks in the different temperature settings and the results were as expected.

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Women performed better in warmer conditions, seeing their performance increase by 1.76% for every 1.8 degree temperature increase.

Men, on the other hand, performed better in cooler conditions.

A few years ago, women raised the issue of cold temperatures and a few publications were writing about cold "air-con sexism". Not much has changed between then and now.

We can only hope now that employers see how this not only affects the productivity of women, but the company's productivity too. 

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