So you’ve got your fancy new office up and running, all your equipment is in place and desks are allocated; you’re ready to go! The only problem? By the end of the first day you notice that your staff seem demotivated, exhausted and, in some cases, downright miserable. They like their job and the business, so what’s causing the issue?

Take a moment now to take a look around your office space, counting the windows as you do. If your office has little natural light coming in, then that could well be the problem.

Various studies over the years have highlighted the importance of natural light, and the substantial effect it can have on the productivity, motivation and overall happiness level of your staff. We all know that a happy workforce is an effective workforce, so this cannot be overlooked. With that in mind, let’s have a look at some of the key advantages a little natural light can offer over its artificial counterpart.

Detriments of Artificial Lighting

The downside to natural lighting is in fact not just a single drawback. One of the more commonly cited issues stems from failing to provide adequate levels of light in general. Dim lighting has been associated with increased eye strain and headaches as the eyes are forced to work harder. If you spend your days looking at a bright screen, this heavy contrast can exaggerate the issue. The low lighting can also lead to drowsiness and a lack of focus; far from ideal in an office environment.

On the other hand, overly-bright, harsh lighting systems are a much more common problem and can be just as detrimental. Eye strain and migraines are common complaints, particularly where fluorescent lighting is used. It can also lead to reduced focus and an irritable mood.

The Solution

The best solution to the issues caused by artificial lighting is, as the title of this article suggests, natural light. There are various advantages to natural light in the workplace; even if your lighting system is about as perfect as it can be, with neither overly-dim nor overly-bright being an issue, you could still see a substantial positive impact from the provision of a few windows. As I say, these benefits and numerous and diverse, so let’s break them down.

Benefits of Natural Light

Sleep Quality - A study conducted back in 2014 by the University of Illinois, reported on at the time by Huffington Post, showed that workers who had regular exposure to natural light during working hours slept an average of 46 minutes longer each night and experienced less disturbances, as compared to those with little-to-no natural light. A lack of sleep can lead to a plethora of potential health problems, so this benefit will have knock-on effects that directly contribute to the overall health of your team.

Vitamin D Levels - As you’re likely aware, your primary source of vitamin D is sunlight, converted by our bodies upon contact with the skin. Vitamin D is highly important, being necessary to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy and functioning properly. A vitamin D deficiency can lead to pain and tenderness in adults due to a condition known as osteomalacia. This is to be avoided for obvious reasons. So, helping your workforce to boost their vitamin D levels by allowing them access to natural light will boost their overall health, keeping them active and efficient.

Reduced Stress/Improved Mood - Keeping your staff happy is the most effective way to keep your customers happy, and various studies have linked an increase in exposure to sunlight to an improved mood among workers. Not only are happy workers more efficient at their job day-to-day, high job satisfaction will encourage your team members to go above-and-beyond when needed, thereby providing a substantial boost to your business at little-to-no expense, and a more pleasant working environment inn general.

Creativity & Learning - Natural light, along with plant life and greenery, has also been linked to improved learning capacity in classrooms, and the same is true for offices. Heightened creativity is another documented effect of increased exposure to daylight, culminating in a 16% variation in learning overall. The faster new staff can pick up their role and reach peak efficiency, the better, and staff with a creative flair could be a particular asset to your company.

Less Sick Days - As a result of all the aforementioned points, you are highly likely to notice a reduction in sick days following the installation of extra windows – in fact, past studies have found this reduction to be as high as 6.5%. That may not sound like much, but spread across your entire workforce, you will notice the difference.

Sales & Productivity - With so many documented benefits to our overall health and happiness, it comes as little surprise that the Sustainia Sector Guide states that workplaces with access to good levels of sunlight saw a 3% - 40% increase in productivity and sales as a result. Sluggish staff and demotivated workforces now a thing of the past, success is just around the corner.

Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor in an attempt to expand his horizons.
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