24 May 2019 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
Women work better when an office is warmer whereas men thrive in cooler workplaces, according to an academic study published in the German Plos One journal.
German researchers conducted a laboratory experiment with 543 students in Berlin, using a variety of tests including maths, verbal and cognitive reflection during sessions in temperatures varying from 16.19°C to 32.57°C.
In each session, participants were given the same set of tasks, and were offered monetary incentives based on performance.
The researchers said the tests revealed that at higher temperatures, women perform better on mathematics and verbal tasks while the reverse effect is observed for men.
The increase in female performance in response to higher temperature is significantly larger and more precisely estimated than the corresponding decrease in male performance. In contrast to the maths and verbal tasks, temperature has no impact on a measure of cognitive reflection for either gender.
The findings suggest that gender-mixed workplaces may be able to increase productivity by setting the thermostat higher than current standards.
The Battle for the thermostat: Gender and the Effect of Temperature on Cognitive Performance can be read here.