It may come as a surprise to realise how significant natural light plays a role in an employee’s satisfaction within a workspace. That’s because lighting doesn’t just affect how well we are able to see, it also affects our mood and behaviour.
But while it‘s true that natural light can result in happier workers, less absenteeism, reduced stress, and fewer illnesses, there’s also a compelling economic reason to bring more light into the workplace — optimising the amount of daylight entering the workplace can also increase employee productivity and alertness.
Why daylight matters:
- Reduces stress and increases productivity and alertness
- Workers overwhelmingly prefer working near windows
- Natural light provides variety and stimulation during the day
- Tapping natural light as a resource reduces energy use
Today’s media seems to inundate us with what perks or elements of office design make for a great employee experience— think treadmill desks, nap pods, and “bring your dog to work day” for starters.
However, a 2018 research poll of 1,614 North American employees, conducted by US HR advisory firm Future Workplace, found that access to natural light and views of the outdoors are the number one attribute of the workplace environment, outranking amenities like onsite cafeterias, fitness centres, and premium perks including on-site childcare.
The study also found that the absence of natural light and outdoor views hurts the employee experience. Over a third of employees feel that they don’t get enough natural light in their workspace. 47% of employees admit they feel tired or very tired from the absence of natural light or a window at their office, and 43% report feeling gloomy because of the lack of light.
Research conducted in 2018 by Cornell University Professor Dr. Alan Hedge reinforces the connection of natural light and employee wellbeing. Dr. Hedge’s recent research study found optimization of natural light in an office significantly improves health and wellness among workers. In fact, this research revealed that workers in daylight office environments reported a 51% drop in the incidence of eyestrain, a 63% drop in the incidence of headaches and a 56% reduction in drowsiness.
All in all, its too common occurrence for US organizations to design workspaces for executives with large windows while lower level employees do not have access to light. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
In contrast, a number of European Union countries in Scandinavia even mandate employee proximity to windows as part of their national building code! This is because they realize that an absence of natural light hurts overall employee experience, up and down the organization.
As you can see, the benefits of natural might in the workplace is indeed universally recognised across the world.
The notion that the creation of the workplace environment is solely a real estate concern is an outdated concept. Today, employers recognize that the workplace environment is now part of the overall employee experience equation and a key lever to attract, engage, and retain top talent.
Now think about your organization in 2019 and beyond; with the average office worker spending almost 1,700 hours a year in front of a computer screen, as a recent poll has found., by having access to natural light an have a bottom-line impact on your employees’ work productivity, wellbeing and engagement.
To reinforce this point, according to a 2018 study conducted by Alan Hedge, a professor in the Department of Design and Environmental Analysis at Cornell, workers in daylit office environments reported an 84 percent drop in symptoms of eyestrain, headaches and blurred vision symptoms, which can detract from productivity.
Despite their best intentions, companies are unwittingly detracting from their employees’ health and performance by limiting their access to natural light,” said Dr. Brandon Tinianov, chair of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Advisory Council and vice president of industry strategy at View. “These findings are a wake-up call to every executive who wants to maximize the wellness and productivity of their workforce.”
Dark, artificially lit environments are all too common in workplaces today. A 2018 study found an astounding 64% of employees in the U.S. have no natural light in their working environment. Lack of access to daylight and views also compounds occupational hazards like Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), which results from extended computer use and affects up to 50-90% of computer users. CVS has a number of productivity-detracting symptoms, including eyestrain, blurred or double vision, and tension headaches.
How are businesses introducing light into their offices?
So I pose the question to you, how can your company implement a positive change in 2019 to the amount of natural light in your office?
Perhaps you may wish to consider the possibility on installing an office roof lantern? A stylish, practical and efficient means to maximise the amount of natural light entering the working environment. A roof lantern is essentially a unique type of roof build that is usually added to the top of your orangery or conservatory. The roof build is referred to as a roof lantern since it resembles a crown and sits on top of your roof like a lantern.
The roof lantern adds beauty and elegance to your home, and it can be designed in different styles to fit your unique requirements. While some people prefer the conventional square design, others prefer incorporating rounded edges to make the lantern look unique.
The lanterns will flood your home with plenty of natural light, transforming your interior spaces from the dingy flat roof extensions into bright and beautiful spaces that you can use for various purposes throughout the year.
The roof lantern doesn’t just add more light to your indoors but also offers a stunning feature from both the inside and outside. They also provide you with a unique space to enjoy the warm sunlight like never before.
Given the vast array of options at your disposal, why not take a look at an in-depth guide on types of roof lanterns for your office.
Tom Clark is a marketing consultant for Camberley Glass and Windows. He has a keen interest in the impact of natural light in workplaces and high performance studies.
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