Business Magazine

The Desk Blanket

Posted on the 15 August 2016 by Candacemoody @candacemoody

Embed from Getty Images

First, let me apologize to all my beloved female office mates for this post. I work in an elderly building with only periodic climate control. In the summer, we freeze, until the air conditioning stops altogether. Then we pray for relief until it gets fixed.  We vow as we swelter never to complain about being cold again. When we’re back to freezing, we walk around grimly blowing on stiff fingers and sipping hot tea all day. I get it, my sisters, and I love you. But a recent article made me take a long hard look at how women cope with climate issues in the office.

Laura Marsh, writing for Elle Magazine online, says that you see two wardrobe accommodations near almost every female office worker’s desk:  comfortable shoes (or sneakers, if she walks or commutes in the city) and… “the desk blanket.” Oversize sweaters, fleece jackets, hoodies, even shawls that women dawn in the hopes of getting through the day comfortably.

Even offices where climate control is fully functional wind up setting the thermostat at a temperature that makes the men comfortable and the women, not so much.  Since men have higher metabolic rates than women, women wind up shivering – and compensating by adding layers of clothing.  Marsh writes that when they do, women are choosing comfort over power.

“When you wear a shawl, you make yourself smaller and less defined, huddling into its folds as you type with barely exposed fingertips,” she writes.  She gives several examples in her article, including a reporter in Kansas City who told her, “”I wear my fleece blanket like a Sansa Stark fur.”

A New York Times article published in 2015 cites the research from two scientists who concluded that most office thermostats were set based on a decades-old formula that uses the metabolic rates of men. Their research was published last year in the journal Nature Climate Change.  They reported that the formula may overestimate female metabolic rate by up to 35 percent. The point of their study?  Energy consumption of residential buildings and offices adds up to about 30 percent  of total carbon dioxide emissions; if we turned up the air, we could save the planet and save women from resorting to wearing Snuggies® at work.

Here’s the problem with all the extra layers: they don’t contribute to your image as a powerful, confident woman. Desk blankets are never purchased as a power accessory; they’re from the back of a woman’s closet, usually a few years old, worn and faded from wear.  And sometimes, they are pink with teddy bears.

Research also indicates that as we age, we’re more susceptible to cold, creating a young/old divide that office shawls make worse. The desk blanket also covers up any fashion you might be wearing, so your carefully chosen outfit is wasted. Meanwhile, the guys are cool and comfortable.

So what is the perfect  – and equitable – office temperature? Ergonomics expert Chris Adams says that most research indicates that an optimal office temperature between 70 and 73 degrees Fahrenheit provides maximum office worker productivity. “However,” he writes, “a well respected study by Cornell University returned a result of 77 degrees Fahrenheit as the optimal temperature.” (My guess is that study included more women.) The British government split the difference and issued guidelines that recommend 74 degrees.

Back to you… Is the Desk Blanket a necessary evil?  Should women strike for temperature equality?  What IS the perfect office thermostat setting?  Leave a comment and let me know.

Better yet, post a photo of your desk blanket.


You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • The Keto Diet: “I Don’t Call This a Diet, but a New Beginning”

    Keto Diet: Don’t Call This Diet, Beginning”

    Rodney started to gain weight in his mid 40's. He'd lose weight, but gain it back quickly. Then he stumbled upon dietdoctor.com and liked what he was reading.... Read more

    The 25 February 2018 by   Dietdoctor
    DIET & WEIGHT, HEALTH, HEALTHY LIVING, MEDICINE
  • 10 Stylish Yet Comfy Women Pants For This Summer- Trend Love

    Stylish Comfy Women Pants This Summer- Trend Love

    March is heading and with this month summers are arriving too. Wearing body-hugging clothes in the summer could really worry our skin and still, we always wish... Read more

    The 25 February 2018 by   Admincosmotales
    FASHION, HAIR & BEAUTY, LIFESTYLE
  • Concert Review: Ain't Love Grand

    Concert Review: Ain't Love Grand

    Gustavo Dudamel conducts Berlioz and Mahler. by Paul J. Pelkonen The Dude abides: Gustavo Dudamel at work. Photo by Chris Lee. Read more

    The 25 February 2018 by   Superconductor
    CULTURE, THEATRE & OPERA
  • All Black + Timberland

    Black Timberland

    Hello! Ik zou mezelf niet zijn als ik geen zwart droeg dus vandaag heb ik ook weer een volledig zwarte outfit voor jullie, of toch bijna! -Hello! Read more

    The 25 February 2018 by   Turn It Inside Out
    FASHION
  • Hostiles

    Hostiles

    Rumors of its demise, and so on. Every so often one hears of the passing of the western, the obituary of the genre being wheeled out and presented newly... Read more

    The 25 February 2018 by   Colin
    ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIES
  • Accurate Estimating

    In ten weeks, we will be furiously packing the last few things in our suitcases, saying the last goodbyes, and cleaning the last bits of food out of our... Read more

    The 25 February 2018 by   Sherwoods
    FAMILY, PARENTING
  • Mashgiach Rikudim Coming to a Wedding Near You!

    Mashgiach Rikudim Coming Wedding Near You!

    Way back when, back in my misogynistic days of a yeshiv bochur, we used to joke about girls in seminary learn for the "MRS degree" and probably take courses in... Read more

    The 25 February 2018 by   Gldmeier
    RELIGION, SOCIETY, SPIRITUALITY

Magazines