Early in this century, extensive research was carried out regarding the worker in the industrial setting with the physical environment as the focus. In the 1930s, the focus became the social environment. Several developments have recently brought the physical environment into prominence and, in particular, the office as a work setting. The US economy has shifted from production to the provision of information and services, with 80 per cent of the workforce predicted to be in the office work setting by the year 2000, compared with 53 per cent today. The work environment is also changing due to advances in technology. This research is in its infancy; and the relationship of the work setting and behaviour, and how it affects productivity, is said to be complex.The existing data suggest that non‐supportive design has negative effects on work and workers, and design appropriate to the work has positive ones. In fact, many businesses have begun changing their design and organizational cultures with positive results. Only time and more observation can reveal what will result from these changes.
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