Buildings that shake in Wellington's winds can cause inhabitants to become psychologically distressed and physically unwell.
In a recent eight-month study of 100 people working in high-rise offices in blustery Wellington, researchers found wind-induced motion sickness was reported in 29 buildings at heights of nine storeys and above.
Scientists believe that low-intensity, often imperceptible vibrations in tall office buildings cause workers to feel tired, nauseous, unproductive and even panicky.
Often referred to as vibration sickness, the condition can also cause tiredness, mental fog, low mood and loss of motivation.
The study in the Journal of Wind Engineering and Industrial Aerodynamics, warned: "Building motion has a larger effect on occupants than previously understood and can significantly reduce work performance in occupants experiencing motion sickness."
The medical term for symptoms caused by vibrating buildings is "sopite syndrome", or early-onset motion sickness, first identified by two Nasa scientists in 1976.
Researchers found that self-reported work performance was reduced by 30 per cent in participants affected by sopite syndrome.
"Tall buildings create canyons of wind," said Aleksandar Pavic, a professor of vibration engineering at Exeter University. "When we build upwards, each tall building affects wind pressure on those around it.
"We don't have good information about how to design these things. We need to understand what's going on, not least because more tall buildings are being built.
People walking around inside tall buildings also causes significant vibration, said Pavic, which means the busier an office is, the greater the potential for problems.
The recent findings expand on a 2004 study at Messina University, Italy, which found that people exposed to long-term vibration at work suffered raised levels of anxiety and tension, as well as debilitating fatigue and depression.
Last week, the universities of Exeter and Bath announced they are building a £7.2 million ($12.8m) government-backed national testing centre to investigate the problem and develop ways to solve it, following international research that highlighted the potential for vibration-induced sickness.
The new facility will examine subtle vibrations in tall buildings caused by wind gusts and occupants moving around.