Design blamed for work misery

Designers are to blame for making people miserable in their working environments, according to a study from the Building Research Establishment.

Engineers and designers often overlook the needs of the end user, viewing them as “unwanted interferences”, states the study, titled Comfort, control and energy efficiency in offices.

People who are “uncomfortable, but lack the ability to adjust conditions to suit their individual circumstances, can become very unhappy”, according to the study.

“Control over the working environment is becoming a complex debate, and the inter-relationships between the user, space and degrees of control are becoming increasingly complex,” says Andrew Laing, director of research at building design group DEGW. “Good solutions are often complex, and as organisations change the way they work, the traditional uses of the buildings are being questioned.”

Laing is working with the BRE on a separate study, New Environments for Working, into how changing working patterns are leading to changes in the ways buildings are being serviced. It will be completed early next year.

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