The office air-con wars are now being fought on the home front

Whilst I have definitely missed the social aspect of seeing colleagues when working from home during lockdown, there’s one part of not being in the office that has been a joy.

Wednesday, 3rd November 2021, 6:46 am
The central heating controls have become a new battleground with the advent of more home working

I’m talking about the temporary cessation of conflict in the long-running air con wars.

Anyone who has ever worked in an open-plan office will know exactly what I’m talking about.

Whilst battle lines are never drawn entirely straight, there is a clear divide between the warring factions – and it usually splits down gender lines.

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It seems that no matter what formation of air con units and heaters are deployed into an office, it’s always too hot or too cold for half the workforce.

Never mind the Good Friday Agreement, brokering negotiations over the workplace thermostat settings would tax even the great Boutros Boutros-Ghali.

And even when it seems the impossible has happened and there is the prospect of final agreement, you’ll find Nagorno-Karabakh enclaves of icy micro-climates where the angle of air con flow leaves someone hunched over a computer keyboard wearing three coats and fingerless mittens.

So it’s been one blessing through lockdown not to have to don a U.N. blue helmet and try to make the peace across the newsroom desks.But as we’ve all found over the last 18 months, change has brought advantages – and newly-found problems.

Because the fight over whether the weather is bringing a hot or cold front to the workplace has simply moved – to the home front.

The same skirmishes that were once fought over control of the office aircon remote have been swapped for the conflict for supremacy over the home central heating.

And while office wars may have been fought on a bigger scale, that doesn’t mean the domestic campaign is any less ferocious. It’s merely swapped the open-plan battle of Midway for the hand-to-hand urban warfare of Stalingrad.

My father, who was a proud Yorkshireman would visibly pale at the mention of the words ‘immersion heater’ so it’s no surprise I’m always turning down the thermostat when I’m home working – even though some how, mysteriously, it keeps getting turned back up.