Office Temperatures Are Leaving Women Out In The Cold

Women are often cold at work, and a recent study explains why. The office "comfort model" formula is based on men's preferences.
Posted at 1:05 PM, Aug 04, 2015

Feel like this when you walk into work in the morning? If you're a lady, you're not alone.

New research published in the journal Nature this week suggests there's a scientific reason women are always shivering in the workplace.

"Give me the phone, give me the phone. Tell him Dwight Schrute wants to talk to him," Dwight Schrute says on "The Office."

It turns out most office buildings set the thermostat based on a decades-old formula that caters to men's resting metabolic rate. 

It's called the "thermal comfort model," and it works like this: Air speed, air temperature, clothing insulation and other factors are calculated on a seven-point scale and then compared against the group of people who may be dissatisfied by the temperature. Sounds complicated enough to be foolproof, right?

Not so much. The resting metabolic rate to which the comfortable temperature is measured belongs to a 40-year-old man weighing 154 pounds. 

Not only do women naturally produce less heat than men, skimpier summer work clothes also contribute to chilliness. (Video via J.Crew)

But it's not like women are going to suddenly ditch their sundresses or skip out on skirts, so what's a girl to do?

Well, the study suggests changing the decades-old model. The benefits could even be twofold: warmer women and more energy-efficient buildings. 

This video includes images from Getty Images and music from Broke for Free / CC BY NC 3.0.