The Aircon Wars
In the land of Poles people rarely feel too hot. Yes, quite high temperatures do occur in summer but the latter is usually short-lived and after a month or two of moaning about the hotness the polski folk comes back to their regular complaining about coldness. In the RS and A heat t is just a part of everyday life. The country has a moderate climate if you compare it to other places on the continent but it’s still VERY warm. What it means for a typical office worker is that either you suffer due to the lack of air conditioning in your office or you suffer due to the presence of the abovementioned.
People disagree in shared working spaces all around the world and this is just how it is. The case of aircon isn’t any different. This is a reason why employers have to use strict regulations when it comes to this part of office functioning. Otherwise they have to deal with absolute chaos. The situation when a company hasn’t recognized the importance of having a policy in that respect and allows people free access to air conditioning regulators means Aircon Wars.
I’m a big supporter of freedom in general but I must say that what I’ve seen happening in a few working places in South Africa made me believe that sometimes imposing decisions on the employees is the only sustainable solution. The main source of conflict is of course the fact that some like it cold and some like hot (😉). What is more, some are vocal in expressing their preferences, while others just suffer in silence till they can’t take it anymore. This is just a perfect recipe for drama. Unsupervised aircon is switched on and then off, the windows are opened and then closed and worst of all, the temperature is adjusted. Everyone does whatever they want to and it obviously increases general unhappiness with the situation as no one has what they want for more than half an hour and have what they really don’t want for the rest of the time. All of that is not benefiting anyone long term and causes unnecessarily tensions between otherwise amicable people.
The truce in the Aircon Wars cannot be reached as no one is trying to be nasty. It’s just a question of varying preferences. The people who are constantly hot can’t stop feeling that way (and yes they can take what they’re wearing off but how much can you take off in an office?), similarly people who are cold can do nothing about their preferences (and yes, they could put their jackets on, but would you really like to sit all day in the office in a jacket?). Making everyone happy is simply impossible.
The solution must be the end of the aircon democracy. The employer in a dictator-like way makes the choices about what the optimal temperature is and when should the aircon be switched on and/or the windows openened. This is the adult way, called compromise, which means no one is really happy but no one is entirely unhappy either. Alternatively, the negative energies that people were directing towards each other can be focused on the employer and we all know that nothing is a better team building exercise than communal moaning 😉