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The Hong Kong Green Building Council (HKGBC) hosted the Biz-Green Dress Day today to encourage staff to dress light to work.
According to the HKGBC, the design and ambience of workplaces can seriously affect one’s well being, as well as the quality of the work they do while there.
A study commissioned by the World Green Building Council and conducted by HKGBC, along with its counterparts in Columbia, the UK and the US, indicates that work performance is reduced by 4% at cold temperature in general, and 10% when the indoor temperature drops to 15 degrees Celsius.
It also says that if individuals are able to work at a temperature that they are comfortable with, their logical thinking performance will go up by 3% and typing performance by 7%.
In Hong Kong, most office workers know that 25.5 degrees Celsius is the optimal indoor temperature suggested by the government.
Despite the effort to get businesses save energy by turning up air-con temperature most offices remain freezing. One of the reason why offices has to put air conditioning on full throttle, especially during the hot summer, was because employees over-dressed to work.
Fashion designer Kenny Li who supports dressing light to work advise office workers to put on thin outfits, ideally made with breathable fabrics and fewer layers to work.
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“The fewer layers, the merrier. You can look stylish an profession with an open-neck shirt and no tie,” he said.
Wearing cotton and loose clothing to work are also great choices for dressing light.
“Cotton absorbs sweat and makes you feel cool.
One can try wearing light coloured tops that are not too long, as they go well with a lot of things and makes people look taller. More importantly, they are not stuffy, ensuring that you do not have to lower the temperature in the office,” he advised.
The Biz-Green Dress Day which was first launched in 2013 was a great success last year proved, with the support of more than 100 companies and institutions from various sectors, including the advertising, food and beverage, architecture, finance, property development and public service.
This year more than 100 companies including Hang Lung Properties, AEDAS, Cafe de Coral Group committing to the event.
The idea of dressing light to work and turning up the temperature of the air-con does not only benefit the environment, it also tackles workplace inequality.
A recent study published in the science journal Nature said women are left in the cold while in the office because air conditioning is generally calibrated to meet a “male temperature”.
The Dutch scientists behind the study, professors Boris Kingma and Wouter van Marken Lichtenbelt, revealed that office temperatures rely on a seriously complicated algorithm that factors in things like metabolic rates and how much heat our bodies generate throughout the day.
And unsurprising, office temperatures were found to be based on one type of average metabolism – the metabolism of a 40 year old man weighing 154 pounds.