A large percentage of the business world works indoors at office locations. Depending on design and size, the amount of natural light that projects into office buildings can vary significantly.
Despite this, recent research has shown UK office workers are barely leaving their desks for fresh air and daylight, spending little time outdoors. The shocking statistics reveal that workers are struggling to get outside during the work week, with just under 40% spending a maximum of 15 minutes outdoors, excluding their commute to work, and a further 22% spending less than 30 minutes in the fresh air.
The Harvard Business Review referenced a survey of over 1,600 employees who ranked natural daylight and outdoor views as the most important aspects of office space. This is surprising, considering these everyday expectations of natural light and outdoor views were up against onsite gyms, child-care facilities and other more luxurious options.
What’s more, in addition to the workforce ranking daylight and views as important factors in an office space, daylight exposure has also been linked to an increase in overall productivity and improved health. With studies referenced by Psychology Today showing that employees exposed to more daylight report better quality sleep, less daytime dysfunction and a better quality of life.
The benefits of daylight are widely accepted. And of course it makes sense that happy, healthy employees generally work harder and are more productive. With employees finding it increasingly difficult to leave the office and spend time outdoors during the workday, it’s important for employers to consider ways of increasing the amount of daylight in the office.
1. Consider changing the windows and doors
If you’re able to consider new, big windows, and lots of them, we’d advise you to do so. If you’re based in a smaller office and own the building, you might even want to consider bi-folding doors from Quickslide Windows and Doors. They are not only stylish but are a great way to increase the amount of light coming into smaller offices and are even better come summertime.
2. Office re-organisation
How effectively are you using the space in your office? Consider re-organising the desk layout to ensure maximum light is felt across all desks, instead of for just a couple of lucky employees.
3. Breakout zones
It may be that you don’t have the authority to change the windows and your desk re-organisation may not have had the desired outcome. Consider creating a break-out zone in a light-rich, airy location. This will be a space that employees can use to work collaboratively and to take a break away from sitting at a desk all day.
4. Add mirrors
Mirrors are great for brightening up any room or office by reflecting light from outside. Consider installing large mirrors opposite windows or in dark corners to brighten up the area.
While fluorescent overhead lights are very common in office environments, they can actually have the opposite effects as natural daylight, and lead to a decrease in productivity. To combat this, you can boost brightness with soft and subtle lighting that can be adjusted to complement existing natural light from windows.
Ensuring your staff have maximum access to natural light, and outdoor views where possible, can have a hugely beneficial effect on your workforce, from increasing productivity to increasing overall work-health, and is well worth investing in.
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