How Natural Light and Windows Improve Workplaces
Posted on March 21, 2017
There’s nothing quite as drab and draining as being locked in a windowless office under artificial light for eight hours a day. People without windows in their office space receive, on average, 173 percent less white light than workers who do, and that lack of exposure to sunlight can cause sleep disruptions, executive dysfunction and other reductions to health.
On the flipside, there’s nothing quite as uplifting and vitalizing as natural light.
Studies into the benefit of natural light have shown a strong link between exposure to light and increases in mood, metabolism and alertness. People exposed to more natural light throughout the day sleep better and longer—an average of 46 minutes more per night. They are also more likely to participate in more physical activity.
These positive trends carry over to the workplace, as well. In the workplace, employees working near windows or with ample natural light report being more productive, more comfortable and more likely to stay with their current job.
There are some factors that play into the benefit of windows and natural light in the workplace: the presence of a window is more likely to be effective if the window opens to a view, rather than a brick wall or other obstacle, and views of nature have been shown to improve mood more effectively than views of parking lots or freeways. Additionally, when there is a glare, overheating or any other inconvenience supplied by the natural light, some of the immediate effects of sunlight exposure are negated. It’s recommended that automatic shades, light shelves or dynamic glazing be implemented when installing windows, so as to maximize the benefit of daylighting without negatively affecting employees.
A last thing to note is that the benefits of sunlight only extend about 20–25 feet from the window. If your employees are all stacked up in a single large room, only those close enough to the glass will experience the benefits indicated. Plan accordingly!