Think back to an occasion when you were forced to work, or do anything constructive or collaborative, in excessive heat. Chances are you probably weren’t your best, most other-oriented, generous-of-spirit self.

Psychologists have proposed that an uncomfortably warm environment makes people less helpful and friendly. Now, a study from a management professor Liuba Belkin seems to have established that elevated ambient temperatures do reduce prosocial behaviors, and may explain why, too.
心理学家认为,过于温暖的环境会让人不尽友好,也不愿意帮助别人。如今,一位名叫Liuba Belkin 的管理学教授的研究证明,过高的环境温度的确会减少人的亲社会行为,同时他还解释了其中的缘由。

Excessive heat hurts customer service

Belkin believes excessive heat was the main reason clerks stopped being as helpful. Just thinking about being warm led subjects to feel more fatigued, which put them in less-than-cheerful moods. Elevated moods tend to drive social, friendly behavior, Belkin said.

Too cold is better than too hot

Belkin adds, research from a 2012 lab experiment shows people were more customer-oriented when they were working in comfortably cold, but not comfortably warm, temperatures. The authors of that study speculated that in colder temperatures, people look for opportunities to form social connections as a way to feel literally warmer.

When the ambient temperature is too balmy, says Belkin, managers ought to look for interventions that will boost morale and well-being, since higher spirits can act as a buffer against the otherwise inevitable loss of interest in helping others.