Studies continue to show that sunshine and natural light in the workplace are vital to the overall health and well-being of employees. Artificial light and lack of windows increase stress levels, negatively impact sleep and heighten the chance of depression, and research shows that physical work environment leads the way to employees feeling happy at work.
5 Health Benefits of Natural Light
Embracing windows and opportunities for natural light in your office design can lead to a more productive and healthy workforce. Here a few specific ways it can benefit your employees:
Improved Sleep: Exposure to natural sunlight in the early morning sets the clock for your entire day and ultimately helps you sleep better at night. This may be the single most important factor that influences the quality of your sleep, which in turn makes you happier and more productive at work.
Established Rhythm: The blue light that is emitted by the sun regulates the body’s circadian rhythm, which means — when the sun goes down at night — our bodies start to produce melatonin. This hormone contributes to “sleepiness” and tells your body to fall asleep. When the sun rises in the morning, your body stops producing melatonin and tells your body to wake up. Once again, the better rhythm your body can fall into, the better sleep you receive and the more focused you are the next day.
Enhanced Focus: When your circadian rhythm is in order and you sleep better at night, your overall health improves. In turn, this impacts our brains, allowing them to repair, process memories and learn more effectively. Natural light enhances quality of sleep, which then means better focus, higher energy and improved overall health and wellness in the workplace.
Alleviates Eye Strain: Spending long hours in front of a computer all day under fluorescent lights most likely causes you to feel drained at the end of the day. Poor lighting and computer screens can cause serious eye strain. Natural light, however, alleviates and relaxes overworked eyes and can help improve focus and energy.
Decreased Chance of Depression: Research shows that daily doses of sunlight alleviates some of the symptoms of depression, especially Seasonal Affective Disorder. SAD typically affects people in the winter months, when days are shorter and darker. This is one of the top reasons to design a workplace that allows natural light to flow into your office.
3 Tips for Designing an Office Space With Natural Light
Designing an office space for natural light requires you to be creative, as many offices don’t have the ability to do an entire redesign or move to a new building. Follow these tips in order to maximize the natural light in your workplace environment:
Position Conference Rooms Near Windows
Let employees know that they are free to use the conference rooms anytime they are available. If you don’t have control over the build or design of your office space, consider losing cubicles and instead investing in sliding room dividers and glass partitions that allow natural light into otherwise closed-off rooms.
Position Casual Lounge Areas Near Windows
Invite employees to spend time in these areas, while eating lunch, drinking coffee or brainstorming new ideas. Coworking spaces and flexible desks allow for employees to move throughout the day; and ensure that they have spaces with plenty of natural light to choose to work from throughout the day.
Activate Outdoor Spaces
If you are fortunate enough to have outdoor space at your office, design it so that people want to spend time there. Offer tables and wifi outside, making employees feel comfortable taking breaks or working in these outdoor spaces. Moving around during the day — especially to spaces with more natural light — inspires and re-energizes employees.
Curious to learn more about how to design an office space with more natural light? At Carson Design Associates, it is our mission is to create healthy, happy and productive workplaces for our clients. Reach out today and let’s chat about your design needs.