The benefits of opening the curtains
A recent Workplace Wellness Study carried out by Future Workplace reveals some fascinating information about what employees really want. While companies all over the world are implementing a range of innovative perks, the overriding benefit on employees’ wish lists is quite simply: natural light. In fact, according to the study, over one third of employees in the US wish they had more access to natural light during the working day. While exploring the reasons why this is important in the workplace, it’s been possible to determine five ways natural light improves productivity.
1. Improves sleep
It is known that exposure to light improves sleep. Research carried out by Northwestern University of Chicago showed that employees who worked in an office with windows slept for an average of 46 minutes more every night, than those who worked in offices with no windows. This is as a result of their exposure to 173 percent more white light during working hours.
Those who have a better night’s sleep are generally more productive at work, because being well-rested means your attentiveness and concentration improves.
2. Enhances mood
Researchers at the aforementioned university have also concluded that natural light boosts mood. The theory behind this is that a lack of sunlight may have an impact on the hypothalamus – the part of the brain that impacts on the production of melatonin, serotonin, and the body’s internal clock. These are the same factors which are believed to cause Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is also related to a decrease in natural light.
This means that exposure to natural light can not only improve mental health, but it will also have benefits on employee morale on the whole. With a sunny disposition, staff will exhibit keenness and an increased willingness to work.
3. Supports vision
Evidence from a report published in the Ergonomics International Journal in 2018 suggests that natural light can improve vision. The study reveals that workers exposed to natural light reported a 51 percent reduction in eyestrain, 63 percent reduction of headaches, and 56 percent reduction in drowsiness.
With natural light, eye health can be properly sustained. This means a decrease in strain on the eyes at work, and therefore more comfort while being in front of a screen. From a productivity standpoint, this then means employees won’t feel the need to take a break from the screen so frequently.
4. Improves vitamin D levels
Exposure to daylight improves a person’s access to vitamin D, which is needed for good nutrition. Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones because it facilitates the absorption of calcium and phosphates. These minerals help strengthen bones, teeth, and muscles, which of course go hand in hand with overall health.
When your staff are happy and healthy, and free of aches and pains that could have arisen out of a vitamin D deficiency, they are far more likely to have a higher production rate. Good health makes it easier to concentrate, and put 110 percent into work tasks.
5. Encourages creativity
There is evidence to suggest that natural light improves creativity. Renowned author George Bernard Shaw valued it so much that he commissioned the building of well-lit “writer’s hut,” which had inside a mechanical turntable that could be moved to follow the sunlight. It’s here that he wrote 20 years worth of plays.
With more natural light streaming into your office space, you could inspire your employees and encourage the generation of new ideas and lateral thinking.
The evidence offers a number of significant reasons to opt for natural light rather than artificial, not forgetting the financial advantages too. Consider installing generously sized windows to improve the overall morale and productivity of your workforce.
Written by: by Henry Martin
Henry Martin is a residential and commercial developer with years of experience in real estate. To get in touch with Henry, you can find him on LinkedIn.