Finding the right balance of environmental conditions is a challenge for any workplace. We have much evidence that access to daylight and views is strongly preferred by workers, but unfortunately not the norm. There is a long history of office design trying to balance various environmental needs with new fixes, but with persistent disappointment on many fronts. Air quality plus acoustic, thermal, and visual comfort are inevitably tangled together. The advent of ‘hoteling’ offers the promise of greater interior design variety and worker choice, while also pushing office design towards ever more flexible interior environments. The design of building apertures is one of the most persistent, and now one of the few remaining, design choices for architects. Observing the kinds of environmental choices workers naturally make, when given the opportunity, can be very informative.
It is also instructive to examine worker response to extreme conditions and unusual work environments; for example, computer programmers, basement workers, and inhabitants of submarines and space stations. Likewise, courthouses and technology companies have special concerns. In addition to individual worker benefits, the impact of daylight and view on overall organizational productivity can also be studied, given large enough study populations and appropriate field conditions. Evidence shows small, but consistent and significant, positive effects.