Benefits of Natural Light in the Workplace
Over the years, there has been an abundance of studies on how to improve productivity in the workplace and even several studies on how the impact of natural light can affect physical and mental wellbeing and productivity whilst at work.
Having ceiling-to-floor windows and sunlight streaming into your workspace sounds like a luxury, not a necessity, but previous research has demonstrated that by taking your time as an employer to evaluate your work settings, you could increase employees’ productivity by up to 40% (Eco Business).
Not only does being outside and feeling the warmth of a Summer’s day make us feel good, but it also has other benefits to our bodies and mind that we may overlook. For instance, there is a strong correlation between daylight in the workplace and the quality of workers’ sleep.
Those who are exposed to natural daylight sleep for approximately 46 more minutes than those who have less exposure, and as you might expect, those who get a better night’s sleep tend to work better the next day.
Another factor to consider is daylight’s impact on employees’ moods at work. Again, an improved mood leads to improved work performance.
There is a scientific explanation for this. For example, take those that suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is a form of depression that becomes more apparent during winter months, i.e. the months with less daylight.
Those that have SAD impacts tend to struggle with lower moods due to the impact light has on the hypothalamus in the brain, which is responsible for the production of melatonin and serotonin. Therefore, if the hypothalamus is getting less light, then there is less production of serotonin which, in turn, affects mood.
The Effects of Light on Productivity
So, we now know how better sleep and mood affect our productivity, so how about light itself?
Former research has shown that employees who sit closer to the window are more likely to show up for work than those placed under artificial lighting. This may be because they prefer their view, or because they enjoy their job a lot more due to their positive work environment, hence the increase in productivity!
Those working specifically in art-based professions suggest that natural daylight is imperative for creativity. An increase in creativity will, in turn, improve employees’ moods, as a study by the University of California, Berkeley, highlighted in a study whereby they state that daily acts of creativity can enhance overall wellbeing.
To conclude, we encourage all employers to invest their time into their workplace and the amount of daylight it receives as it is clear that the amount of natural light does improve productivity.