Talk about a bunch of whiners!July 20 2005 at 3:22 PM
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A new story today shows that not only are office buildings and businesses cranking up the A/C too high and using too much power, but that is making some people who feel too cold as a result to plug in their space heaters in their office when it is 30 and 40 degrees outside! Most, if not all, using space heaters are women and the reason is simple... they dress lighter and get cold easier. I used to notice this at the golf course where I worked (in which the A/C did not work). The men (pros, management, waiters, caddys, etc) were not allowed to wear shorts... no way in hell. Yet the women (pro shop, waitresses, beer cart, management, etc) were allowed to. For obvious reasons I suppose; as the tank-top, mini-skirt and flip-flop wearing lawyer says in the article below "God knows we don't want to encourage men to wear sandals and short pants or sleeveless shirts."
I'm reminded of tha episode of Seinfeld where Jerry's girlfriend was always going around naked, then he tried it and got a negative response...
By JAN WONG
Wednesday, July 20, 2005 Updated at 5:49 AM EDT
From Wednesday's Globe and Mail
When it's boiling hot out, Clio Godkewitsch sometimes arrives at her office in the Cadillac Fairview tower and turns on the space heater under her desk.
"I was tempted to this morning," said Ms. Godkewitsch, a lawyer at Koskie Minsky, "Because it's freezing in my office all year round."
Don't run your dishwasher during the day, authorities advise. Lower the thermostat. Keep your curtains drawn. In all that energy-saving advice, they forgot one thing: Don't switch on that space heater.
Ms. Godkewitsch, 32, isn't the only one in her office to use space heaters in summer. "Quite a few of us use them. All women," she said. "In fact, the mail-room guys ordered them for us."
Office air conditioning appears to be calibrated for men, fully dressed men, in shirts, ties, suit jackets, pants, sock and shoes.
Male lawyers, of course, can't exactly show up in muscle shirts. But with temperatures stuck in the 30s for days on end, their female counterparts are donning sleeveless tops, backless dresses, short skirts and flip-flops.
Yesterday Ms. Godkewitsch was wearing a T-shirt, skirt and red-leather slides. She couldn't imagine wearing stockings during this heat wave. "God, no." At the office, she adds a sweater or jacket, but when she gets thoroughly chilled, she snaps on her heater.
Linas Medelis, a man, naturally, was shocked and appalled. "It makes no sense to have your air conditioner going and then having to heat it," said Mr. Medelis, supervisor of customer care at PowerStream Inc., a suburban utility. He said having a small ceramic electric heater going eight hours a day is the same as running a microwave for eight hours straight.
Tara Hodgson, an accountant at Anchor Lamina Inc., said in an e-mail that she keeps her heater on "almost full time" when she is in the office.
"People always complain and mock me," she wrote. Her rejoinder: the seasonal sartorial gender gap, which she says is for the best.
"God knows we don't want to encourage men to wear sandals and short pants or sleeveless shirts." She finishes typing her e-mail with this: "Just for the record, my fingertips are frozen right now. You would think I was throwing snowballs in February."
You'd think worker bees would get more sluggish when temperatures rise. But according to a 2004 study by Cornell University, warmer temperatures actually increase productivity. When the office temperature was cranked from 20 C to 25, typing errors dropped 44 per cent and overall typing output rose 150 per cent, according to the study by Cornell professor Alan Hedge.
Japan must be in the know. Last month, government offices there began cutting back on air conditioning in an effort to meet targets under the Kyoto global warming protocol. Government office temperatures will now be set at 28, compared to a norm of 25. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi urged businessmen to skip the tie-and-dark-suit uniform. On June 1, he set the fashion agenda by wearing a long-sleeved, blue Okinawan shirt with white trim to his office.
In Toronto, Brittany Eccles, is cold in both winter and summer. A graphic designer at Fashion magazine, she kept her office space heater on all winter. "It broke. I wore it out," said Ms. Eccles, who was wearing silver-braided flip-flops from the Gap and a flirty pink chiffon sundress yesterday.
She'd replace it, but her colleagues complained the heater was making them sleepy. Now freezing, Ms. Eccles draws the line at sitting at her desk with a hot water bottle. But she does fill an empty Perrier bottle with hot water, which she sips throughout the day.
In Ottawa, Andrea Girones, a lawyer at a high-tech firm, said she and her colleagues have learned to keep company-issued fleece jackets handy. Yesterday morning, in a freezing board room, Ms. Girones tossed her fleece jacket over her T-shirt and light blue cotton skirt. It didn't exactly match her flip-flops, but she explained, "We're a business-casual building."
At Koskie Minsky, Ms. Godkewitsch's colleague and fellow lawyer Lisa Stam, 34, partially solves the problem by dressing for work as if for a funeral. Yesterday, despite a humidex alert, she wore black shoes, black dress socks, black dress pants "and a black sweater with a nice, big, thick collar."
She bought the sweater in early June, expressly for the office, in a futile attempt to avoid using her space heater. Ms. Stam said she inherited the space heater from the woman who occupied her office before her. Oh, did that lawyer die of exposure?
"Good question," Ms. Stam said. "No, she got pregnant."