Women are more productive in warmer offices because it makes their brains perform better

The amount of arguments that have been had over the thermostat in the comfort of our own homes are countless. Sometimes it feels like you're experiencing an entirely different climate when someone calls for the heating to go up even further when you're down to a t-shirt and shorts. Yet this debate doesn't just stay at home, with offices having a similar issue.

A lot of these disagreements come from the fact that men have been found to have slightly higher body temperatures than women - and older technology tends to favour men over women. A 2015 study found that "most office buildings set temperatures based on a decades-old formula that uses the metabolic rates of men".

Now though, a more recent study has discovered that women's brains perform better at higher temperatures.

woman working on laptop

The study - published in the journal PLOS ONE - was conducted by US and German researchers, who found that women perform better in verbal and mathematical tasks when they're at a higher temperature. Men have the opposite effect, but the impact is considerably less.

This research team collected 543 students in Berlin, setting the room temperatures between 61 and 91 degrees Farhenheit throughout the experiment. Agne and Chang Kajackaite from the WZB Berlin Social Science Center in Germany asked each of the participants to perform mathematical and verbal tasks, as well as "cognitive reflection".

While the latter category wasn't affected, temperature ensured that there were changes to the first two tasks.

office workers Credit: Pexels

"It's been documented that women like warmer indoor temperatures than men, but the idea until now has been that it's a matter of personal preference," Tom Chang, one of the study's authors and associate professor of finance and business economics at the USC Marshall School of Business, said.

"What we found is it's not just whether you feel comfortable or not, but that your performance on things that matter — in math and verbal dimensions, and how hard you try - is affected by temperature.

"It's not like we're getting to freezing or boiling hot. Even if you go from 60 to 75 degrees, which is a relatively normal temperature range, you still see a meaningful variation in performance."

women in office Credit: Pixabay

"People invest a lot in making sure their workers are comfortable and highly productive," Chang added. "This study is saying even if you care only about money, or the performance of your workers, you may want to crank up the temperature in your office buildings."

The team concluded that women were putting more effort into their answers, and submitting more of them, when they were warmer. Men dropped their performance and submitted fewer answers when the temperature rose - a situation that the researchers suggested would "raise the stakes for the battle of the thermostat."

So, you heard them, employers - crank that thermostat up if you want more work to be done! Saying that, summer may just do the work for you in the next few weeks...