How Windows in the Office Boost Performance
Business owners shouldn’t underestimate the impact of windows in the office. Having access to natural light was the number one feature of many workers in a Future Workplace poll of more than 1,600 employees. In study after study, we are learning that artificial light is not a suitable replacement for natural lighting. It can be detrimental to workplace productivity in offices with few windows. Exposure to natural light plays a fundamental role in improving the health and safety of employees. Installing more windows is an investment that can improve the bottom-line too.
Eye strain and other health issues are a common problem in many offices that rely on artificial lighting. Too much or too little light can cause headaches, fatigue, and stress, which not only decreases productivity but also increases the chance of an error or accident. A research study conducted by Dr. Kerstin Sailer found that more exposure to daylight increased productivity by 20%. It also enriches workers with Vitamin D, serotonin, and melatonin, which are instrumental in helping to prevent colds and flu, resulting in fewer sick days.
Better Sleep Patterns
Researchers at the Northwestern University of Chicago conducted a study to determine the effects of lighting on sleep patterns. The study, which was published in Psychology Today, found that those working in window offices gained an additional 46 minutes of sleep each night, compared to employees working in offices without windows. Employees who have more quality sleep are more alert, productive, and healthier.
Poor lighting can dampen the mood in the workplace. A lack of natural light can cause some individuals to develop a condition known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Approximately 20% of adults in the U.S. suffer from some type of SAD, according to Dr. Norman Rosenthal, clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical School. Employees afflicted with this condition often feel lethargic and depressed. Improving access to natural lighting is like flipping a switch for those afflicted with SAD. It improves mood and reduces fatigue resulting in happier and more productive workers.
Letting in more natural light in the office is a creativity booster. Daylight can stimulate the mind and help reduce stress in the workplace. A Human Spaces research study showed that employees sitting near natural elements like a window or greenery had a 15% increase in creativity and well-being.
Energy Cost Savings
Increasing the level of natural light in the office not only reduces energy costs but the carbon footprint, as well. Maximizing the use of windows along with daylight sensors to maintain the right balance between artificial and natural lighting in the workplace can reduce electricity costs by as much as 40% to 60%, according to the Carbon Trust.
Office space with more windows is no longer a perk. It is a necessity for a happier, healthier, and more productive workplace.