Commercial air conditioning systems often provide uneven heating and cooling, and this has more to do with economics than technology.
1. The Builder (construction company, architect, designer, etc.) has to build the building for the owner and do so at a cost the owner can afford, while leaving a profit for the builder. So the builder's requirement for the HVAC system is to supply a system that is only sufficient enough that they don't get sued by the owner. Lowest installed cost is the primary criteria, with efficiency and comfort coming in far behind - if they are considered at all.2. The Building Owners (Insurance Company, Real Estate Investment Trust) owns the building and leases out office space. They don't care one whit about the installed cost of the unit, so long as the overall cost of the building came in at the contract price. If they are paying the utilities, which is often the case, they want the most efficient unit possible, with comfort a distant second. Comfort to them is only important in terms of tenant complaints.3. The Tenant wants comfort, and doesn't care about installed cost or efficiency, unless in the rare case they are paying metered utilities. Each office should be controllable to a set temperature and damn the utility bill. Since they have little or no control over the finances, however, their needs are often dead last. And as we shall see, often the tenant, in a "build out" of the space, makes matters worse.
The differences in gender clothing create a constant thermostat war in some offices, where scantily-clad secretaries insist on warmer temperatures, while suit-wearing men want it colder. Some of this has been solved by going to more casual dress, however many companies draw the lines at men wearing shorts to work (while it is OK apparently for the women to wear skimpy dresses). Maybe the company should just issue everyone Elvis-like jumpsuits, or Star Trek uniforms, and then the thermostat can be set at a temperature that everyone will like.
The other problem for large high-rises is that like a beehive, they tend to generate heat by themselves, and the "core" of the hive may be hot, while the outer offices, exposed to the cold outdoors may be cold. Or in the summer, the outer offices are warm and the inner offices are really hot.
Heat load includes people - each putting out as much heat as a 100W light bulb. Put a lot of people in a room, and the heat adds up, and most people simply don't understand this - setting up a party in their home or at an event space, setting the thermostat to 72 degrees and wondering why when 50 people show up, it shoots up to 90 degrees in the space. The best idea is to set the thermostat down to 60 before the party starts - it will heat up quite quickly to a normal temperature.
Throw in photocopiers, computers, and the like, and you have quite a heat load in an office building, and again, this load tends to be higher at the "core" of the building. Unfortunately, some systems are installed with only one thermostat per floor, and thus the core gets hot and the perimeter freezes. Offices on the South and West sides of the building heat up from the sun, while offices on the other sides freeze in the shade. Multiple thermostats and air flow control devices could be installed, but this raises installed cost, which the builder doesn't like. Guess who designs the system and writes the checks for the installation? Yup, the builder.
As a result, the systems are often primitive in nature without a lot of fine-tuning to the controls. Even if the system is zoned on each floor, with multiple thermostats, often walls are later installed between the thermostat and the temperature control device. It is almost comical in some instances to see Joe in one office turning up the thermostat because he is "freezing" while Jim next door can't understand why he is living in a sauna. Joe's thermostat controls Jim's office and vice-versa.
Oftentimes, after an office space is built out, a technician is sent in to "balance" the system by re-arranging air ducts or installing or adjusting dampers, to even out air flow and attempt to provide uniform temperature in the work space. Sadly, this work is often done before the floor is occupied, so the actual loads on the space are not known. And since the technician doesn't have days to study the patterns of sunlight and load changes throughout the day, he can only do a rough approximation of "balance" in any event - and the tools he has at his disposal are somewhat primitive anyway.
Sadly, I am not aware of any new technology that can fix this problem. When I worked in the air handling lab, we kept trying to use pneumatic or system-pressure based solutions, and builders were loathe to install electronic controls - which would require a union electrician to install. I am sure today that more electronic controls are the norm, but again, if they are installed before build-out, even the best control system can be flummoxed by a poorly placed wall blocking the air flow from supply to return.
The best solution, I have found, is to tell your secretary to wear longer skirts, or a pantsuit, and bring a sweater. But freezing or sweating in the office seems to be more the norm than the exception.