Office Chills? There’s an App for That!

Thermostat WarsThis is that time of year when publications run articles about how office air conditioning erupts in office thermostat wars.  It’s frustrating when publications recognize females as the usual frozen victims, but never mention why, with Raynaud’s being a potential cause of our chilly discomfort.  Last year the New York Times published our editorial response to their article titled “Chilly at Work? Icy Office Was Devised for Men.”  That’s one way to get the word out!

What’s different this year?  Frosties can now fight back – there’s an app for that!  In the recent Wall Street Journal article titled Let the Office Thermostat Wars Begin, they report offices are now providing apps that provide some instant (though short-lived) relief; other apps crowdsource workers for a more democratic approach to temperature control.

One app called Comfy lets employees request a 10-minute blast of heat or cool air on demand.  But managers can control the requests by requiring more than one person per zone make the same demand within a certain time window before delivering the blast of relief.  I can see people bargaining at their desks now!

Two other apps called Vector Occupant and CrowdComfort take more of a crowd-sourcing approach to registering complaints directly with building managers.  These tools can be effective in identifying work areas that are out of the target temperature range or may signal damaged equipment.   Alas, this instant feedback won’t always result in getting action, but at least you’ll feel better having registered your complaint.

One final note:  The article states some offices actually go as far as to install dummy thermostats giving people a false sense of security that they’ve actually improved the office climate, and surprise, it works – must be a placebo effect!

Here’s the full article in the Wall Street Journal, plus links below to our past article and editorial on the thermostat wars:

Let the Thermostat Wars Begin!  (Note:  The current Wall Street Journal article stole our blog post title!)

Raynaud’s Editorial in the New York Times