We have to manage this on every course we run, you probably have to step around it in the office, and today it’s been officially recognised in a new study: air conditioning is typically set to favour men, freezing women out.
The study, by Dr Boris Kingma and Professor Wouter van Marken Lichtenbelt from Maastricht University Medical Centre in the Netherlands, suggests that many air conditioning systems are set to favour the metabolic rates of 40 year old men. This leaves the ladies feeling cold, upset and pulling on the cardigans even in the summer.
Of course, what ensues in offices with changeable controls is a power battle. The men, typically, turn the temperature down. The women turn it back up.
So the Manager is called in to arbitrate.
The challenge for Managers
Now, as though Managers haven’t already got enough to contend with, they have to make a decision which will upset at least a proportion of their workforce. Will the outcome appear chauvanistic? Will it effectively ‘favour’ a certain team or business unit because of who they are or where they’re sat?
Who said it was ever going to be easy leading and managing a team?
How do we handle it at Impellus? We have an agreed temperature range for people’s working environments (not what it says on the thermostat). This is between 21 and 24 degrees and can be checked by everybody as all team members have a thermometer on every desk.
So there it is. Clarity, fairness, openness and responsibility. So you’re imagining we have no problems, then.
Were it only this simple. Dealing with air conditioning and heating preferences, it seems, is an eternal challenge to Managers, what ever you do.