Another front is opening these days in the eternal battle of the sexes. Only this one in the workplace is not about equal pay or equal job opportunities.
It’s about the thermostat.
A new study reveals what a lot of couples already knew: Women like their living spaces a lot warmer than men do. In fact, women’s brains work significantly better in warmer work temperatures.
Men prefer cooler room temperatures. Perhaps because they rarely wear sleeveless dresses and shirts or skirts on the job.
The issue is likely to be an, uh, heated one as the nation moves into the warmer summer months when office air conditioning comes into its own.
The German study, which was published in the journal PLOS One, tested 500 men and women performing a range of work-related tests in a variety of room temperatures.
The study found that at higher temperatures women’s brains work more efficiently and better, especially in verbal and math skills, than in the cooler temperatures that men typically prefer.
Men’s skills decline in warmer rooms, though not as much as women’s improve. And male skills improve in cooler temperatures.
Besides offices, the varied thermostat preferences spilled over into politics last summer when New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo debated his challenger, actress Cynthia Nixon. She wanted the studio temperature set at a toasty 76 while Cuomo wanted considerably cooler.
Part of the issue is biological. Never mind the jokes, but males tend to nbe more hot-blooded.
“The root of this,” said Nate Adams, an expert on workplace and home environments, “is men, in general, have much faster metabolisms than women by about 30 percent.”
This means that male bodies, which are also typically dressed in more clothing than women, give off more heat and, thus, are more comfortable in cooler environments.
No real solutions in sight. Office building superintendents, usually males, have not proven overly responsive to pleas from upstairs to turn down the AC.
So, in many offices female workers keep a sweater handy on their chair and even electric heaters under the desk, even on the hottest summer days.