A large percentage of the business world work indoors at office locations, and depending on design and size, the amount of natural light that projects into office buildings can vary. It’s not uncommon to be cooped up in a windowless room under fluorescent lights from 9 ‘till 5. If that sounds like your office set-up, you’re probably already aware of how drained it can make you feel?
There has been a wealth of research into the effects of natural elements on our health, wellbeing and productivity. Interestingly, daylight is the number one desired natural feature in the workplace. Creating a daylight filled office will not only ensure the workplace environment is aligned with the preferences of employees but has the power to extend to a wealth of benefits, from boosted productivity to better sleep at night, reduced sick leave and lifted mood!
Employee’s like it
A whole host of studies have shown employees like working in well-lit work environments. Harvard Business review published an article referencing a survey of over 1,600 employees who ranked natural daylight and outdoor views as the most important aspects of office space. This finding is perhaps surprising, considering these everyday expectations were up against onsite gyms, child-care facilities and more fun and luxurious options.
It seems reasonable for the impact of natural light on mood to explain employees’ views; sunlight triggers the release of the feel-good hormone, serotonin. This hormone is associated with improved mood and calm and focused feelings. With reduced exposure to natural light and sunny skies comes a dip in serotonin, which can be associated with feelings of stress and depression.
Daylight makes it easier for workers to learn, think creatively and be more productive. In fact, research published by Eco Business has shown an uplift between 5 and 40% in productivity and sales in workers based in a bright, daylit office environment.
Quite the opposite to the effect of light (natural or artificial) at night, in making falling to sleep notoriously difficult, the benefits of exposure to light throughout the day can extend way into the evening and improve sleep. It has been reported that a lack of daylight could be harming the amount of sleep achieved at night. Comparing groups of window side and windowless workers, those workers who were situated next to a window, with more exposure to natural light, slept for longer at night.
Reduced sick leave
Absenteeism is costly to businesses, and studies have found a correlation between indoor light quality and sick leave. Examining the relationship between light quality, window views and employee health, it has been shown that office workers with poor light quality and views take more sick leave; the two variables account for a 6.5% variation in sick days taken. That said, a bright workplace is likely to reduce employee sick leave figures and therefore, reduce absenteeism associated costs.
The benefits of daylight are widely accepted, and of course it makes sense that happy, healthy employees generally work harder and are more productive. With a clear business case for investing in offices flooded with natural daylight, with plenty of large windows, such as those available from Quickslide Windows & Doors, moving offices isn’t always a viable option. If that is the case, consider an office re-organisation to ensure maximum light is felt across all desks, look to introduce bright and airy breakout zones and add mirrors to brighten up dark corners by reflecting light from outside.