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Temperature Wars are on the Rise



QDear Workplace Wonda,

There is a war going on in my office and it’s over the temperature of the thermostat.  How do I get staff to call a cease fire on the thermostat so that we can return to a period of peace?

Signed,

Reluctant Soldier



A:  Dear Reluctant Soldier, 

Thermostat battles are not only causing a cold war at work, but according to a recent study, one third of couples fight for thermal control at home.  What is it about temperature that gets us so heated?   It comes down to comfort.  And control.

Mr. Workplace Wonda came up with a plan to control the temperature of our home that was so dastardly that even a fictional supervillain would be impressed.  After receiving a $700+ electric bill last summer (while the kids were home on summer break), he placed a thermostat control on both air conditioning units that could only be activated through a special code that Mr. Freeze, I mean, Mr. Workplace Wonda operates.   

Sounds like a great plan, right?  Well, not if the thermostat is set to the specific satisfaction level of one individual whose body temperature differs greatly from that of his co-homeowner based on his age, activity level, sex, and frankly, reproductive status!   Not to mention, said co-homeowner has not been given access to the special code!  

If fighting over the thermostat at home gets your temperature rising, why would the workplace be any different?  According to a survey of employees by CareerBuilder, it isn’t.  Nearly half of worker who responded to the survey say their office is either too hot or too cold and that temperature affects their productivity.   

It was supposed to be a covert operation.  A team of soldiers from the north were forming in the back of the office.  “Look soldier, we are burning up back here,” stated the military commander of Operation Hot Flash.  “Your mission is to get to the thermostat controls undetected and carefully turn it to 68 degrees.”  “You only have a meno-pause, so be quick!”

The air conditioner powered on with such force that the soldiers from the south took cover… underneath their sweatered shaw wraps. 

“Run soldier, run!” yelled the commander.   As the soldier was running to the back of the office, she looked over her shoulder.   She caught the eye of one of the enemy soldiers who mouthed with quivering lips, “Please... we will freeze to death.” 

Victory lasted long enough for the soldier’s body temperatures to return to a comfortable 98.6°F before the hum of the air conditioning unit went silent.  “Soldiers, the enemy turned up the temperature on the thermostat again,” yelled the commander. “Take cover… under your office table fans!  This war is NOT over!"

Ok, maybe this scenario is a little bit dramatic.  Workplace Wonda dramatic?  What?   Nevertheless, study after study shows that once peace-loving coworkers can go from hot to cold based on the direction of the thermostat arrow.

The following are a few tips that might encourage your office to cease fire and return to that period of peace you seek:

Call a Truce- Give up the covert operations and discuss a mutually agreeable temperature that everyone can live with.  Research shows that the highest productivity levels are when the office temperature is at 71.6.

Take a Breather- If you are feeling a chill in the office from the air conditioner, take a quick break outside and enjoy some sun and vitamin D. 

Have a Drink- And, I don’t mean a Hot Toddy…  Sipping on a hot or cold beverage can help warm or cool you down. 

Take Cover- Keep a light jacket or blanket in your office if you like a warmer temperature and a small desk fan if you like it on the cooler side. 

Comprise is key to secure a long peace treaty and prevent future temperature wars. 

Signed,

Workplace Wonda

P.S.

Mr. Freeze’s reign of temperature terror at home was thwarted when Workplace Wondawoman broke the code and took control of both home air conditioning units!   Just Sayin...

Comments

  1. One thing here at work get everyone a little fan for there desk. Here in our office that's what we have and everyone can have there own temperature set to there liking. Because it was a fight at first. Everyone's body temp is different. We all understand that. You can have DC order the broan it is a heater and a fan in one. It's little and on the floor out of the way. Hopefully this helps

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  2. I've worked at two workplaces where the thermostat was an "issue" (and the reason it wasn't an issue at other workplaces is because employees weren't able to control it). So, any time employees can alter the temperatures to their liking, I imagine the chances of other workers being uncomfortable by that will be high.

    A big reason why the temperatures cause so much disagreement (in addition to the factors Wonda mentioned) is because the ceiling fans and heaters are located in different places throughout the office. So, if someone is sitting directly underneath the cooler, they're going to feel the coldness much more than someone whose desk is far away from it, and that person whose desk is far away from it is always going to want to lower the temperature, whereas the person sitting underneath the cooler just wants the constant bombardment of cold air to stop.

    If I were an office or building manager, I would leave the temperature locked at a fair temperature (like 71, as Wonda said) and let the employees adjust themselves to that, by bringing in their own fans or light sweaters, and let them all agree to complain about me if they wish, instead of having them "battle" and grow resentment against one another with these temperature wars.

    If, however, you have your own office, where the temperature affects only you, then, of course, I would leave that thermostat unlocked and let you alter it to your liking, since it affects only you. But if the temperature is going to affect others who may not agree or be comfortable with it, I, again, would choose to leave it locked.

    -Francisco

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