Is It Just Me Or Is It Hot In Here? What’s the Deal With the Office Thermostat?

Sunday night, I had a meeting with about 10 people at my office.  When I arrived a few minutes before the meeting was scheduled to begin, it was clear that the air conditioning was not operating correctly.  For those not familiar with Delaware summers, no air condition is not a good thing.   The conference room was stuffy already and bound to get worse. I immediately adjusted the thermostat on the wall, no response.  A call to the night desk for assistance brought the bad news — “the air-conditioning system is shutdown at 6 o’clock on Sundays until the next morning.” 


The guard at the desk then added, “it’s hot down here too.”  Misery loves company.

As I suffered through the meeting, with the lights dimmed to keep the conference room as tolerable as possible, my mind began to wonder.  I began thinking about how office temperature is a very frequent topic in our office.  Somebody is always complaining that it’s either too hot or too cold.

After the meeting, I did some quick surfing of the Internet.  Turns out that the Sunday New York Times has an article on the topic of office temperature.  The article explores why some workers (usually female) are more likely to be cold and why some (usually male) employees complain that the office is hot.  It also cites a Cornell University professor who says that raising the office temperature from a chilly 64 to a balmy 77 increases productivity and lowers mistakes. 

As I type this post, everything has returned to normal. The thermostat in my office is appropriately turned down to 65 and the office is becoming nicely chilled.  It won’t belong before someone enters with the familiar refrain “what do you have this thing set at?”  In the past, my usual response has been, “I don’t know, I didn’t touch it.”  

But maybe a new response is appropriate, given my obsession with going green at work and at home, and my new-found knowledge about the correlation between office temperature and employee productivity?  . . . Naaaaaah.