Are there any benefits to having lots of natural light in your office?
You know that feeling you get when you wake up in a morning? The one you get when you open the curtains, and all you see is glorious sunshine streaming in through your windows? It instantly gives you energy and sets you up for the day. No gloomy tiredness that the cold, damp and dark winter mornings bring. But instead you have feelings of joy from the natural light in your home.
Over the years a number of studies have looked into the affect that natural light has on our wellbeing. The benefits of sunlight are easy to see. Just a couple of sunny days raise everyone’s spirits and people are happier.
The impact of this natural light is often overlooked when buildings are designed and built, and this can affect you at home or work. Prior to the mid 1900’s natural light was the main light source for buildings. Over the last couple of decades this has changed and electric lighting has taken over as the main light source in any building.
How can more natural light in your office help?
Daylight improves concentration so your workforce could be more productive. Nobody wants to work in a windowless office – it is likened to working in a cupboard. The thought of being in a drab room with no air and no natural light is depressing even just thinking about it.
In the UK we have often heard about SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder. SAD is a clinically diagnosed condition where lack of sunlight in Winter makes people feel ill. People like naturally lit environments and studies have shown that shops that are bright and full of natural light sell more. It is noted that patients in naturally lit hospital rooms recover more quickly, and in their homes people want natural light which is why conservatories and bifold doors are so popular.
As an employer do I have to have natural light in the workplace?
The benefits of have natural light in your office are more than just energy saving. Exposure to natural light during the day will improve your sleep quality, and reduce your sleep disturbances.
Architects are building natural light into their plans for offices and homes. There is also a legal requirement to have access to natural light. In industrial and commercial buildings revised Document L of the Buildings Regulations recommends a minimum roof light area of 10%.
“Every workplace shall have suitable and sufficient lighting” and this lighting shall “as far as is reasonably practical, be by natural light” EU Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulations (1992)
Can bifold doors make your workforce healthier?
In conclusion it would seem that having access to natural daylight is a necessity if you want a happy and productive workforce. Maybe look at replacing your tired windows and doors. Treat your team to a daily dose of sunlight to help them stay strong and healthy.