Natural light and its impact on productivity and well-being

Feb 22, 2022 | Work Culture

Most of you can relate, people’s motivation often takes a dip on gloomy days. And during the winter, when the sun is hard to find, it’s a time when people are most depressed. Winter blues affects about 15% of Canadians. That’s about 60% more than our southern neighbours in Florida, where the sun exposure is much higher.

Do you need the sun to stay productive?

A 2018 study from Future Workplace examined 1,614 employees. 78% of respondents attributed having access to a window with sunlight to greater happiness and well-being. 73% of employees reported higher work satisfaction, 70% improved work performance and 54% reported higher organizational commitment.

Yet, one-third of respondents mentioned the lack of natural light in their office. And unfortunately, 47% of employees reported fatigue due to lack of natural light.

Now, it may come as no surprise that half of the respondents prefer natural light and views of the outdoors to perks such as cafeterias, fitness centers and medical and childcare.

Benefits of natural light

Modern humans spend much more time indoors than their predecessors for millions of years. Therefore, we deprive our bodies of the benefits we were accustomed to throughout human evolution. Natural light not only affects people’s moods but also helps the body function. One of the main biological benefits of sunlight is the boost of vitamin D, which is a critical nutrient for maintaining our immune system. Exposure to sunlight optimizes metabolism, internal clocks and other cellular processes. You may find one of the most noticeable benefits in how rested are you in the morning. This study found that workers with access to the window reported higher quality of sleep than those who did not.

Companies are taking action

The overall well-being of employees has a big impact on their performance. And natural light plays a key role in it. It is no wonder, then, that forward-thinking companies are incorporating this aspect into their latest development projects. Amazon recently opened its new headquarters campus in Seattle called The Spheres. And it is definitely not shy of natural elements. The complex features over 40,000 plants and no walls. Instead, the building shell is almost entirely made of glass, which allows access to natural light regardless of the daytime.

Airbnb has taken a similar approach with its new customer experience hub in Portland. New offices are located in the historic Blagen Block building. And the first thing you’ll notice when you look at the newly renovated building are the huge windows that occupy almost the whole facade of the building. In this way, each floor gets maximum daylight.

What can you do now

Your employees need to experience the daylight to work effectively and stay healthy. Some EU countries mandate employee proximity to the windows with their building regulations. But what if it’s not possible to give each of your employees the same access to daylight at the moment? You can paint the walls in light pastel colours to maximize the reflection. Opt for eggshell or other reflective finish. Mirrors are the most effective way to bounce the rays and get them to reach deeper parts of your office. You can also focus on carpets that are usually darker in colour. Get brighter ones.

Station Shield

Once you manage to get the sun inside, it is important not to block it further. You can equip your booths with glass walls and choose transparent panel systems walls and shields to protect your employees while optimizing their health.

Your efforts will not fall short. Today’s top talents are more aware than ever that the work environment is part of the overall employee experience and, as mentioned above, it plays a significant role in deciding who to work for. Choosing the right furniture and optimizing your office environment will help you to attract, engage and retain these talented employees.

You can now customize some of our online products and view them before requesting a quote. Choosing a bright colour that reflects the sun’s rays is easy. Try it on our Tackboards.

Tackboards customizer


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