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Your Freezing Office Could Be Hurting Your Job Performance

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Photo: Theory

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Raise your hand if you keep a "work" cardigan, sweater, or even a blanket at your desk chair at the office because it's so ridiculously over-air conditioned. The Washington Post knows your pain, and it's blowing the lid off the underground sexist undertones of freezing summertime offices.

Reporter Petula Dvorak informally polled office workers out on the streets of downtown DC and found that every single woman she talked to said the office was too cold, while every man she talked to didn't even notice the temperature. It's a clear "gender divide, thermostat edition," Dvorak writes:

All these women who actually dress for the season — linens, sundresses, flowy silk shirts, short-sleeve tops — changing their wardrobes to fit the sweltering temperatures around them.

And then there are the men, stalwart in their business armor, manipulating their environment for their own comfort, heaven forbid they make any adjustments in what they wear.

That’s right, my friends. Air conditioning is another big, sexist plot.

Beyond the patriarchy, there's a productivity cost when workers are forced to endure uncomfortably cold temperatures. The Post reports that when researchers at Cornell’s Human Factors and Ergonomics Laboratory moved up an office's temperature from 68 to 77 degrees, typos went down by 44% and productivity went up by 150%.

Not to mention that bumping up the thermostat by five degrees can save 11% on power bills, according to the US Energy Department. Those are two compelling reasons to advocate that building managers stop blasting the AC.