Use Natural Light in the Workplace: Natural Light in the Workplace Boosts Health, Happiness, and Productivity
Numerous scientific studies point to the benefits of getting enough natural light during the day—natural light enables vitamin D production, strengthens our vision, improves our mood, enhances our circadian rhythms, and reduces stress. Without enough daylight, many people experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and other negative physical and mental responses.
Over a fifty-year career, the average worker spends about one-third of their total waking hours at work, and our bodies don’t stop needing sunlight just because we’re at the office. In fact, our biological need for natural light may even become greater in order to offset the disruptive effects of looking at our computer screens all day.
For the past five years, design and productivity experts, as well as neuroscientists and researchers, have turned their attention to the impact that natural light can have in the workplace—and the results are staggering. According to research by neuroscientists at Northwestern University, employees who sit by a window get an average of 46 more minutes of quality sleep per night. The International Well Building Institute and Human Spaces researchers concur. Team members who are exposed to enough natural light during the day are less likely to call in sick, enjoy productivity boosts up to 40-percent, and report feeling happier, more relaxed, and more creative at work compared to team members who don’t get enough daylight.
How To Bring Daylight Into Your Work Environment
The business case for more daylight is cut and dry—sunshine is, theoretically, a renewable, free resource that promotes your team’s innate potential. Who wouldn’t want to tap into an easy source of extra energy, productivity, and growth?
However, ensuring that all employees get enough natural light during the work day can get tricky. Many older office buildings aren’t designed to let the light in, and every office building has darker areas. In a comprehensive survey of office workers, daylight was found to be the most coveted natural feature. So, how do you determine who gets an office with a window? Do you periodically move employees throughout the day? Here are a few helpful tips to make the most of the day—for everyone:
Consider Which Areas Are Used Most. If daylight is at a premium in your office, think about how different areas are used during the day and during the week. It might make sense to use more light-filled rooms as employee break rooms, kitchens, huddle spaces, and conference rooms to promote creativity and maximize the impact of daylight for the most people. As a bonus, your team members are more likely to pay attention and feel engaged during the meeting when there’s enough natural light.
With Clear Touch Interactive® panels for business, you won’t have to worry about visibility issues with natural light, either—the anti-glare surface is designed to remain visible in any light, from any angle.
Use Flexible Workspaces. If you don’t have enough light-filled spaces in your office to go around, offer your employees more choice and flexible workspaces, both outside the office and inside the office. Examples of flexibility outside of the office include giving the option to work remotely during certain days, giving mornings or afternoons off, or allowing flex vacation days. Accomplishing flexibility inside the office can be more complicated, but small lounge areas, multi-purpose rooms, and welcoming lobbies go a long way toward making the most of the natural light in your work environment.
Fortunately, our business software suite makes it easy to stay connected to your team members, no matter where they are.
Schedule Walking Meetings. If sitting is the new smoking, then scheduling walking meetings can help you and your team members kill two birds with one stone. Not only will a walking meeting help you unplug, many propopents of the practice report that talking while walking helps them tune in and engage more fully with the conversation. There’s a scientific reason why walking helps us think. In addition to the natural light, the increased heart rate and improved circulation also gets neurons firing more quickly.
Want to learn more ways Clear Touch Interactive® can get your employees moving, connecting, and benefitting from open office design? Contact us for a live demo.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24932139 (Study on health and sleeping related to natural light)