The Benefits of Natural Light in the Workplace
For a long time, one of the biggest status symbols an office worker could have was that coveted corner office. Not only was it usually the biggest office, it also likely had the most windows. Even though many office workers often complained about feeling drained by the lack of natural light in their workplaces, there used to be a belief that artificial light was actually healthier than natural light. However, that idea is now very outdated. Thanks to more recent studies, those complaints about feeling drained are no longer just anecdotal, there’s real evidence to back the idea that natural light is very important in the workplace.
Out of all the office amenities which could be added to a workplace, windows are one of the most valuable. In a recent study by Future Workplace, access to natural light and views of the outdoors ranked as the most desired office features, ranking even higher than things like fitness centers, on-site childcare, and on-site cafeterias. Not only will they make your office more attractive to new employees, they’ll help keep current employees happier at work.
People highly value their wellbeing, and natural light plays a vital role in helping people live healthier lifestyles. Humans are powered by circadian rhythms which run the internal clocks that control energy levels throughout the day. A lack of natural light can disrupt those circadian rhythms and make it more difficult to fall asleep at night, in turn making people more lethargic during the day and making it more difficult for them to concentrate at work. In a 2013 study by Northwestern University, their research found that workers who had access to natural light at work slept an average of 46 minutes more per night than those who don’t. Being well-rested doesn’t just help improve alertness and productivity, it also helps people be less susceptible to illnesses like colds and flus.
Whether you use a desktop computer, laptop, or mobile device at work, spending enough time looking at a digital screen can eventually lead to eyestrain. Simply being able to take a break and look out a window for a while to enjoy the scenery can be a great way to help keep eye strain at bay. In research from Cornell University, people who work in offices with ample natural light had 51% fewer reports of eyestrain.
Companies all over the world are taking note of these benefits and are looking for ways to make natural light more available to everyone, not just high-level employees. We’ve seen a shift from the traditional layout of private offices along the windows and workstations in the middle. Instead, many companies are moving away from having enclosed offices all together while providing conference rooms for meetings that require privacy. This promotes a more team-based environment that allows for maximum collaboration.
Another trend we’re seeing with companies that require offices due to their work type is providing closed offices on the interior and open workstations around the glass. This allows a greater number of individuals to have access to sunlight. The interior offices often have large sidelights that allow the natural light to filter in or be seen from their desk.
If your office could use some more natural light, contact Premier Construction & Design. Our design team can work with you to brighten up your space and create an environment that your employees will love.