Scientists have raised the stakes in the battle of the sexes over office air conditioning by discovering women’s brains work better at higher temperatures.
Men, on the other hand, work better when the temperature is cooler, according to a study published in the journal PLOS One.
The study, conducted in Germany, tested the ability of 500 men and women to perform a series of tasks at a variety of temperatures.
At higher temperatures, women perform better on maths and verbal tasks while the reverse is true for men.
For women, the increase in performance while working in warmer temperatures was “significantly larger” than the decrease in male performance.
"Our findings suggest that gender mixed workplaces may be able to increase productivity by setting the thermostat higher than current standards,” the study found.
The findings are cold comfort to women who have to carry extra layers – jumpers, shawls, socks, even blankets – to keep warm in their offices.
And perhaps it explains why men wearing suits and ties are determined to plunge their offices into an ice age.
According to an earlier study published in Nature Climate Change, women are suited to an average office temperature about 3C warmer than men. The study found that women had a significantly lower metabolic rate than men. Men are comfortable – neither sweating nor shivering – at about 22C. Women, on the other hand, find that a bit chilly.
Another study from 2004 found that people working in warmer conditions – 25C, as opposed to 22C – make fewer typing mistakes and have increased productivity.