Study: Chilly office temps negatively impact women

It’s an age-old debate – one that involves a battle over the temperature.

Now, a recent study shows whether your work space feels too cold or ‘just right’ may actually depend on whether you’re a man or a woman.

The study looked at 543 men and women who performed tests in math, verbal and cognitive reasoning in a room with varying temperatures.

Cleveland Clinic’s Neha Vyas, M.D., did not take part in the study, but said the results show women have an argument for turning up the thermostat.

“If you looked at the gender results, it found that the women actually performed better in both math and verbal at the higher temperatures,” she said.

And while men had a lower performance rate at the higher temperatures, researchers said the difference was not significant.

Dr. Vyas noted the ambient temperatures in offices were set decades ago – and were based on the metabolic rate of a 40-year-old man who weighs about 150 pounds.

But, she said our modern workplaces are more diverse, and until we can get the thermostat turned up a bit, it may be beneficial to dress in layers.

Dr. Vyas also said a cold work space is a good excuse to get up and get a little more movement in your day.

“Exercise does tend to help; moving around tends to help, rather than sitting in one place,” she said. “If you feel cold all the time, just getting up and taking a quick walk will help increase your metabolic rate and may make you feel warmer.”

However, it’s not always our gender that determines how we’re affected by temperature. Dr. Vyas said if folks have tried dressing in layers and walking around, but still feel cold – she recommends visiting the doctor to make sure there isn’t an underlying medical condition that might be making someone feel cold all of the time.

Complete results of the study can be found in PLOS ONE.