It's summer in America. Which means it's time for the annual thermostat wars to begin in earnest across the land.
'Tis the season for the more heavily dressed (or inherently warm) among us to constantly turn up the air conditioning, forcing the more reasonably attired (or colder-blooded) to reach for the blankets stowed under their desks. I once spent a scorching NYC summer working in a frigid office building wearing a bulky sweater, clutching endless cups of hot tea, and perpetually battling AC-induced laryngitis. You've probably had similar experiences.
No more Snuggies in July?
Is there any way out of this perpetual battle over temperature? Hallelujah and rejoice, the answer may finally be yes. A new startup is aiming to end the continual squabbling over the office deep freeze for good, Tech Crunch reports.
Promisingly named Comfy "raised $12 million in Series B funding for building automation software that helps companies save energy on office air conditioning while gathering employee-contributed data about the use and occupancy of a workspace," reports the site.
Energy savings are, of course, an admirable goal, but the best news for individual employees is buried a little deeper in the piece, where writer Lora Kolodny offers a more detailed description of the product.
"Comfy is a simple-to-use app that employees put on their phones and use to request warm or cool air in a zone where they work. The app uses employee-contributed data, and combines it with usage data and patterns, to tune every zone in an office building based on the routine preferences of people who work in each zone there," she explains.
That focus on the comfort of (and engagement with) individual employees is what sets Comfy apart from other "building automation businesses," she explains. And it's what the company is counting on to help it win in the competitive niche.
"It's a very real thing that temperature and light can slow us down, distract us, make us hungry, or impact our hormones," company president Lindsay Baker told TC, making her pitch to productivity-minded bosses. (She's right. Research shows cold spaces make people more distracted and mistake-prone.)
But the rest of us will just be thrilled at the prospect of not having to tote a Snuggie to the office in July.
Would you like your office to use this product?