There are just over 122 million people working in the U.S., with women making up about 47 percent of the general work force. While there have been strides in ensuring an atmosphere of equality in the work place, there is still much that needs to be done. Oddly enough, one of the ways in which equality may need to be addressed is in the gauging of the thermostat in the air conditioned office. During summer months especially, it has been found that females, who make up 51 percent of the persons in professional and technical fields, may be subjected to very cold offices that have been set on a standardized temperature found to favor men.
So, if you are a boss who is concerned about creating a fair and comfortable atmosphere for all your employees, consider the following ways that adjusting your air conditioning, to suit your female employees, might really help you and your business.
Band of awareness
It is reported that the specific thermostat setting being followed may have been developed by using the average worker from the 1960's and that this worker was a 154-pound, 40-year-old man. The problem with this setting is that it does not, in fact, take into consideration the 30 degree difference in heat that men generally produce more than women. It also does not calibrate that while men tend to dress in suits all year round, women quite often dress for the season, making summer-inspired wear less conducive to warmth in cold offices.
However, turning up the thermostat by as much as 9 degrees Fahrenheit (from 68 to 77 degrees) could save you about $2 per employee as well as decrease labor costs by up to 10 percent. This is in addition to the estimated 11 percent that could be saved on monthly electricity bills by raising the thermostat by even 5 degrees.
Time and output
Considering that your office might boast more female than male employees could mean that a large portion of your workers might be freezing in your offices. It has been suggested that working in a chilly environment decreases productivity and increases the possibility of mistakes. In fact, it was found that the adjustment in temperatures could see a 150 percent increase in productivity and a 44 percent decrease in such mistakes as typographical errors. Time is money, so the time spent getting warm and changing mistakes could be more wisely spent.
Decreased temperatures can also lead to illness or can exacerbate an existing problem, such as allergies, which can add to your portion of the almost $49 billion that is spent annually on workers' compensation costs—not to mention the accident waiting to happen from being bundled under blankets and pressing hot cups of liquid on the hands and face to get warm.
Work with an HVAC installation company to make sure you have an efficient system and that you're able to easily keep the office at a comfortable temperature. If air leakage is causing you to run the AC constantly, fixing it can make a world of difference.