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¿si quieres destruir mi sueter? November 12, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Observations.
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I don't care how cold you are at work; there's NEVER a good reason to wear a Snuggie to the office. (cc-licensed photo by adamgn)

When I was in high school, Weezer’s “Undone (The Sweater Song)” was quite popular. I translated it for Spanish class. This is about all I remember; I think it’s pretty accurate.

Greener Buildings posted an article about employee dissatisfaction with the temperature of their offices. Here’s some of it:

[T]he study also found that 78 percent of workers said their productivity falls when they feel too cold or too hot at the office — and a whopping 98 percent said their offices are too hot or too cold at some point.

So what do they do? Things that can drive a company’s energy bill higher or stall work, according to the study findings:

* 49 percent said they use a fan when they feel too hot,
* 28 percent said they use a space heater,
* 30 percent said they leave their office building to warm up or cool down by taking a walk.

The study also found that 41 percent report their discomfort to an office manager or facilities worker, and 69 percent try to remedy the situation by donning or doffing a layer of clothing.

“Donning or doffing”. I’ll have to remember that.

I’m one of those people who’s always warm. Ever since I got my first real full-time job, I’ve had a fan on my desk. It’s not on all the time, but I’d say at least four hours out of every day it’s blowing air on me. Even in the middle of winter.

Conversely, many of my co-workers are those strange “I’m always cold” people. Some of them are from warmer climes, some of them prefer being warm to being cold, and some of them legitimately can’t get warm no matter how hard they try. Many of them have space heaters under their desks.

Now, I’m not against space heaters in principle — we use one in my daughter’s room because if we increase the temperature everyone else in the house roasts — but they can cause energy problems. Specifically, they pull so much power that they could overload a circuit and knock several employees off-line until someone figures out what caused the problem. But the best option is to adjust the office thermostat so everyone’s happy.

Okay. So most people are happy.

Okay. So the fewest people are unhappy. That’s more likely.

Sometimes it’s completely out of control of everyone except the Facilities Manager. At the office supply store, the air conditioner was controlled by sensors on the roof. Spring and fall in the south are very strange seasons and it was always sweltering during the evenings and never quite cool enough during the day. At my old data-entry job, the building’s a/c was only on from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. — and I worked until 8 p.m. every day. Then, before I came upstairs, I was right near the big door — the “refrigerator door” — which was always left open, much to the chagrin of my colleagues. Even I got cold sometimes. Now, at my new desk, I’m always warm, though I think part of that is because the guy on the other side of the wall has the ass end of his computers pointed at my desk, and his Mac has a fan like a jet engine.

There’s really no way around temperature discomfort at work. Do what the weatherman says to do when it’s cold in the morning and warm in the afternoon: dress in layers. Don and doff as needed.

And stop telling the Facilities Manager to make it warmer. It won’t be a pretty sight when I start sweating.

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