Blowing Hot Air
Ladies, put your hands up if you’ve had to consider what to wear for the office based on the temperature of the workplace?
And men, how many of you are sick of women complaining that it’s too cold when you’re desperate to open a window?
This is one of the age old battles of the sexes.
But have you ever considered that it may be creating a divide between the males and females in your office? An underlying, unaddressed issue which may lead to potential conflicts.
Michael Labrum, from Labrums Solicitors in St Albans, said: “Conflicts within the workplace can develop over time from small niggling issues.
“Something as simple as the temperature the air conditioning is set at can be the catalyst for bigger issues and grievances.
“I read an article on air conditioning. It stated that women prefer a temperature three degrees warmer than men.
“Air conditioning was built with the temperature of a white male, in his 40s, of medium build in mind. The temperature is based on this profile, rather than an average man or a mixed sex workplace.
“When it comes to disputes, as a general rule prevention is better than cure.
“A lot of offices could avoid conflict to prevent a bitter workplace atmosphere by levelling the playing field, or in this case taking the average temperature of all their employees into account.”
Conflicts in the office are usually because of historic reasons. This could be rates of pay, male dominated management, break times, maternity and paternity entitlement and hours of working.
Michael said: “Companies need to think outside the box. With most workplace disputes there’s a tendency to look at the black and white rather than the grey areas. There are other reasons, other niggles, that fester to create tension in the workplace.
“Rather than following the crowd or following tradition companies need to take a look at their organisation and make the necessary changes that suit their business needs.
“We go into companies and offer MOTs for their terms and conditions and details of employment and create a template for them that they can use in the future.”
Now ask yourself again, is there a battle of the sexes in your workplace?