The Benefits Of Natural Daylight In The Office
It seems obvious that natural daylight is better for us than artificial light, but there is increasing evidence that exposure to light, during the day - particularly in the morning - has more far-reaching benefits to your health than previously recognised, due to its positive effects on mood, alertness and metabolism.
A survey by the University of Illinois found that exposure to daylight in your office not only improves your mood, but also improves sleep, physical activity and quality of life.
The study, which was reported in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, discovered that office workers with more light exposure at the office had longer sleep duration, better sleep quality, more physical activity and better quality of life compared to office workers with less light exposure in the workplace.
The study group included 49 day-shift office workers. 27 of which were in windowless workplaces and 22 in workplaces with windows. Health-related quality of life and sleep quality were measured with a self-reported form.Employees with windows in the workplace received 173% more white light exposure during work hours and slept an average of 46 minutes more per night than employees who did not have the natural light exposure in the workplace. There also was a trend for workers in offices with windows to have more physical activity than those without windows.
Workers without windows reported poorer scores than their counterparts on quality of life measures related to physical problems and vitality, as well as poorer outcomes on measures of overall sleep quality and sleep disturbances.
The benefits are not limited to just the individual employees’ quality of life and sleep. These lifestyle benefits also have a positive impact for the company. Better sleep and happier, fitter employees mean a happier and more productive office. And that has to be good news for everyone.
Employers and architects alike should place greater emphasis on the design and layout of office space. It is not only natural light that impacts upon the wellbeing and happiness of staff. Well-designed offices also need to provide their inhabitants with a variety of environments from break-out areas to collaborate in to quiet zones to concentrate.
There are additional benefits to capitalising on natural light, energy savings. Especially in the summer, if you can reduce your reliance on artificial light by maximising natural light in your office, you could potentially save thousands of pounds on lighting costs over the space of an entire year.
Daylight from windows typically reaches about 7 or 8 metres into the building. Beyond that distance the benefits almost vanish. A simple design solution to augment daylight penetration into office buildings would be to make sure the desks are within 7 to 8 metres of the window.
So, if you’re feeling lethargic, blue, or struggling to sleep, why not see if you can nab a desk closer to the window. While you’re at it, give us a call and we can make sure that your windows are squeaky clean, allowing all that wonderful natural daylight into your life.