Questions 12-22 refer to the following information.
While at Work, Just Chill Out
The idea that happy workers are productive workers is 12 gaining traction with American businesses. Many businesses have been utilizing data or conducting 13 there own research to better understand how they can provide their workers with the most enjoyable working environment and experience. These aspects of working life have historically been treated as the most easily dismissed complaints of an office. Now, these employee concerns are being earnestly researched for cost-saving purposes.
14 It is one of the more common complaints in the workplace, and also one of the most regularly dismissed, has been temperature. This complaint usually comes from women—and for a good reason. Research shows that many buildings’ temperature settings are based on a historically established metabolic-equivalent measurement standard. “Metabolic equivalent” expresses how much energy the body requires to perform tasks such as sitting, walking, and running. The metabolic equivalent still in use today was calculated in the 1930s and is based on that of a 155-pound male. 15
While the human body may seem to be primarily at rest while 16 sitting, but the reality tells another story. As we sit, our bodies are constantly at work maintaining brain function, regulating blood flow, and controlling vital organs, all at an average temperature of 98.6 degrees. When the external temperature is low, the body must work harder in order to perform these basic functions.
17 Due to the increased energy the body exerts when it is too cold, there is a direct link between temperature and worker productivity. Concentration and the ability to perform basic tasks, such as typing without error, are the most common competencies to become compromised when the external temperature in offices is kept too low. The longer that bodies must work to compensate for lower external 18 temperatures: the more pronounced deficiencies and errors become.
Outside of employee productivity, competency, and happiness, the influences of room temperature 19 have a large affect on cost savings for a company. First of all, it takes a great deal of energy, and therefore money, to keep an office space at the standard 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit of most large-scale office buildings in the United States. Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning systems (HVAC) account collectively for 20 28 percent of the electricity and 86 percent of the natural gas consumed by office buildings. Even in today’s technology-driven workplace, cooling accounts for 21 more electricity usage than does lighting.
As American businesses move towards maximizing the productivity of the work environment and reducing losses from unnecessary and costly office expenditures, 22 it is likely that the temperature will remain cold so that employees stay awake.