A new study at the University of Southern California found that raising the temperature of the thermostat in the office may increase women’s productivity.
The study found that the higher the temperature, the better the performance of women in mathematics and language, while the opposite is true for men. As the temperature rises, women’s performance in the task also increases. Men will perform better when the temperature is lowered, although the link between temperature and male performance is less pronounced. The study was published in the May 22nd issue of Plos ONE by Tom Change, associate professor of finance and business economics at the Marshall School of Business, and Agne Kajackaite of the Berlin Social Science Center.
The researchers said: “There has been evidence that women prefer the higher indoor temperature environment than men, but so far people have always thought that this is just a matter of personal preference. And we found that the problem is not only whether you feel comfortable It also lies in your performance in mathematics and language, and the extent of your efforts, which are actually affected by temperature.”
A total of 543 students participated in the experiment in Berlin. The temperature settings vary from room to room and range from approximately 16 ° C to 32 ° C. Participants were asked to complete three different tasks in a given time – performance-based monetary rewards. In the math test, participants were asked to add five two-digit numbers without using a calculator. In a verbal task, participants were asked to build as many German words as possible in a given ten letters. In the final task, the cognitive reflection test, participants need to answer a set of questions in which the first response is basically a wrong answer. The researchers found that room temperature was associated with participants’ scores on math and language tasks, and in cognitive reflection tests, temperature had no effect on both men and women.
The authors point out that at higher temperatures, the increase in women’s cognitive abilities seems to be mainly due to the increase in the number of answers they submit. Therefore, the authors interpret this as women become more engaged. Similarly, the decline in male cognitive ability is due to the reduction in the number of answers they submit. In addition, it is important to note that at higher temperatures, women’s cognitive ability increases more than men’s cognitive ability.
Researchers say the results show that the temperature set by the thermostat is not only about comfort, but also about cognitive ability and productivity. Perhaps, in a mixed workplace, in order to increase productivity, bosses should set the temperature higher than the current standard. In this regard, the researchers said: “Capitalists have invested a lot of money to ensure that employees work in a comfortable environment and work efficiently. And our research shows that even if you only care about money or employee performance, you may need to improve the office building. temperature.”