Companies Combat Summertime 'Thermostat Wars' With Mildly Creepy Social Experiment

Is it being performed on you?
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As everyone who works in an office is well-aware, with the start of summer brings the division of employees into two warring camps: those who are freezing their gonads (or, more likely, ovaries*) off and want to raise the temperature and those who are either sitting pretty or could withstand another 5 degree drop. At start AppNexus, a new app "allows employees to order up a 10-minute blast of cool air or heat on command." At a hedge fund in Stamford, CT, where the boss likes to keep things chilly, staffers' options are to STFU and don a fleece or GFTO. And at companies where management thinks, accurately, that people are stupid, this happens:

To placate chronic complainers, some facility managers install dummy thermostats. They’re equipped with buttons or dials to give occupants an illusion of control, but lack any connection to the air-conditioning system. Ms. Levine doesn’t approve of the tactic, but says she has seen dummy thermostats actually make office workers happier, because they felt as if they have some control over the temperature. Research shows office workers perform best when they have control over their physical environment.

Let the Office Thermostat Wars Begin [WSJ]

*"Women typically prefer warmer temperatures because their metabolic rates are slower; they’re often cold when thermostats are set to suit males, says a widely reported study last year in Nature Climate Change."

Related

UBS Concerned With The Company Some Of Its Employees Keep

The following is a (not at all comprehensive) list of things that UBS could legitimately be embarrassed about: - Losing so much money that a rogue trader's $2billion loss barely registered above 'meh' on the Do We Care scale - Awarding 4-figure bonuses to managing directors - Employing a guy who "implored bankers to make a more concerted effort to streamline the firm and likened the strategy to slashing expenses like a 'Jewish shopkeeper'" - Having their entire healthcare team decide Jeffereies is a better place to work - Being scammed by a bunch of ops guys - Pulling a reverse Field of Dreams and spending all the money it didn't have to build a 103,000-square-foot trading floor, in a 700,000-square-foot building, that no one wants to work on - Getting no respect from the people of Stamford, who'd prefer "a nice big Costco" move into the space - Having to distribute a step-by-step guide re: how to tie a tie And yet, rather than feel some measure of humiliation about, for instance, the PowerPoint admission that their grown men employees don't know how to dress themselves or taking the time to send out a memo that reads "Subject: Hey, Body: Stop losing so much fucking money!", the bank's execs are going with this: ...Robert Wolf, a top UBS executive in New York, is among President Obama’s leading fund-raisers, building more than $500,000 for his re-election so far this year. A regular presence at big campaign fund-raisers, Mr. Wolf, who is 50, golfs and vacations with Mr. Obama and is known for e-mailing friends photos of himself with the president. While such a close relationship might have been envied by other bankers in 2008, when much of Wall Street was infatuated with Mr. Obama and donated heavily to his presidential bid, it has been making other UBS executives uneasy of late...With media reports pointing out that one of the bank’s top executives is also one of the Obama campaign’s top bundlers — a word that one UBS executive said “makes people’s hair stand on end” inside the bank — the Swiss banking giant has decided to take an unusual step. The bank’s powerful group executive board in Zurich recently presented Mr. Wolf with an edict directing him to report all his media inquiries to the firm’s press office. Since then, most of the requests to speak to Mr. Wolf have been rejected, according to people briefed on the situation, resulting in a much dimmer limelight for Mr. Wolf...“You will clear any and all communications with the press as far in advance as possible,” the directive to Mr. Wolf read. “With respect to activities outside UBS you will, on a best-efforts basis, keep corporate communications informed.” Bosses Reign In Banker Who Golfs With Obama [Dealbook]

Today In Swiss Banks With Creepy But Defensible Structured Products

I don't really understand it but the TVIX thing is creepy fun. If you haven't followed it, Credit Suisse issued this exchange-traded note called TVIX that was a 2x levered bet on the VIX. They suspended new issuance about a month ago due to position limits, and people were just so damn excited to own the thing that its price crept up to 189% of its fair value, where "fair value" is a reasonably easily measurable thing based on the formula in the TVIX prospectus. Then last week Credit Suisse announced that they would be creating more units, and the price plummeted to and then through fair value, which is what you'd expect to happen. Except that it started plummeting a few hours before that announcement, which is Suspicious. So of course people are sad and so there's a Bloomberg Brief with sort of sad-funny quotes like: “When it started to fall, I bought more because I couldn’t believe how low it was going. I didn’t realize I was playing with a hand grenade.” – Michael Gamble [heh! - ed.], 67, who doubled down on his TVIX investment before the price collapsed. Investors “all think: ‘Oh, I’ll just buy these things, I’ll be hedged against volatility and everything will be wonderful.’ And now they’ve seen the market goes down and their volatility protection goes down too, and they’re going ‘Hmm, what happened here?’ These people are going to have to pay a really expensive lesson.” – Larry McMillan, who manages $30 million as president of McMillan Analysis Corp. So, yes, Larry, they are going to pay a really expensive lesson. But what is it? Stephen Lubben has a little thing in DealBook today where he frets: