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How can we make offices more comfortable?

At Better Places for People, we’ve talked a lot about how thermal comfort is a very important factor for an occupant’s health and wellbeing.

In fact, a 2011 study showed a 4% reduction in office performance at cooler temperatures and 6% in warmer temperatures. Even just having control over the temperature leads to better cognitive performance: a 3% improved logical thinking performance and a 7% improved typing performance was seen in another study. Overall productivity increased 3% when occupants were given control over temperature in yet another study. Even small changes in productivity have an effect on the bottom line of companies, so taking thermal comfort of employees seriously should be an important factor in any business.

For years, we’ve heard that building automation systems are sexist and dress codes don’t allow for women to be comfortable in air conditioning at such cold temperatures in the summer. Well, one copywrighter at Toronto ad agency BBDO is taking action. Dominique Raso’s office was much too cold for her and her colleagues and company agreed. It took a call to the facilities manager of their building to get some action finally, but this isn’t the same for everyone.

BBDO Toronto’s campaign is called “Change the Work Climate” and aims to get building managers to recognise that most building automation systems are set for middle-aged men. Women have different metabolic rates and thus different needs in the office. All it takes is one thing: ask your facilities manager.  However, a proactive facilities manager would already know this.

Click here to watch a video on the campaign.

Colin Powell is Project Manager for Better Places for People