Why you might be wearing a sweater this summeron June 5, 2012 @ 1:57 pm (Updated: 11:14 am - 6/30/12 )
If anyone should get an article like this, it's the girl with the ski jacket on and the blanket draped over her knees.
"Wow, I'm actually really comfortable in this." Normally, it would just be one item at a time. (Photo by Alyssa Kleven)
The Washington Post took on an issue I've been complaining about (to myself mostly) since day two of my employment: it's too cold in here from June through September.
If I hear, "Why do you have your coat on? It's 80 degrees outside?" one more time, I'm just going to hang a sign on my cubicle wall explaining how thermostats work.
While there are bigger things to worry about, like people getting gunned down in Seattle and kids committing brutal crimes, I'd argue that being comfortable is paramount for peak performance. I can't worry about bigger issues if I can't concentrate.
As it turns out, I'm not the only one donning long underwear to the office-place on a sunny June morn. The Post cites several woman who use space heaters, electric kettles, fingerless gloves, heating pads, and several sweaters.
In fact, I noticed both Linda Thomas and Brandi Kruse wearing sweaters today. These are women who wear skirts and stilettos to work. I laughed evilly in the corner as I pulled up my wool socks.
I've inquired about Ms. Kruse and Ms. Thompson's heartiness, but they assure me they're not rugged at all. In fact, they'd rather suffer through the goosebumps for beauty's sake. Ech. I'm done impressing.
So why does building maintenance insist the temperatures in here won't change? It's because somewhere along the line this temp was determined to result in maximum productivity while conserving energy in warehouse style buildings. After all, we wouldn't want heat stroke wiping out the Seattle workforce. According to the Post, the General Services Administration came out with new numbers in 2009: 74 to 78 degrees.
There's no way it feels like 78 degrees in here.
Alan Hedge, director of the Human Factors and Ergonomics teaching program at Cornell University, told the Post the reason it feels colder is because our bodies are comparing the inside temp with the outside. It feels cool in here on a warm day and balmy on a cold winter day.
Hedge has determined that the majority of people feel most comfortable when they're a little warmer. His optimal temp is 76 degrees. Aah. Our thermostat currently reads 72, but it really does feel warmer out on the sidewalk.
Apparently some countries, like Japan and Great Britain, have launched campaigns to set the thermostat at 82 and encourage workers to dress coolly. Necktie sales, and I'm sure nylon sales, have dropped.
So until the U.S. jumps on board with linens and loafers, we ladies will either slog it out in chilly skirts or continue to wrap ourselves in frumpy Snuggies at the workplace. But please don't ask us why we're wearing fingerless gloves while gazing out the window on a rare sunny Seattle day. Or if you must, first take off your jacket, tie, socks, long-sleeved shirt, and half your pants.
By Stephanie Klein, whose internal thermostat might be broken.
Bonneville Media encourages site users to express their opinions by posting comments. Our goal is to maintain a civil dialogue in which readers feel comfortable. At times, the comments can descend to personal attacks. Please do not engage in such behavior. We encourage your thoughtful comments which: have a positive and constructive tone, are on topic, are respectful toward others and their opinions. Bonneville reserves the right to remove comments which do not conform to these criteria.