Natural light is the easiest, most cost-effective way to boost well-being and productivity in the work place. Scientists are only just beginning to uncover the vast psychological effect the environment has on us and light is the biggest environmental stimulus of all. From our sleep/wake cycles to mental alertness, hormones and mood, the presence of natural light and lack of it has an immense effect on our quality of life. Natural light is essential for healthy bodies and minds, has antibacterial properties and makes small spaces seem larger and more airy.
The warmth of natural light in the workplace reduces anxiety, stress, boredom, lethargy and tiredness. People are happier and more energised, which results in a more efficient and productive workplace. An additional dose of vitamin D strengthens immunity systems. On the other hand no light or over-illumination, an effect where lighting intensity is higher than what is needed for the activities that are taking place, results in depression, stress and a decrease in productivity.
Unnecessary light also has the downside of being expensive and energy intensive. Natural light is an easy fix that enhances employees’ quality of work and is a direct improvement to their health. Neuroscientists at a leading university reported that working in a windowless environment had a detrimental impact and that there is a strong relationship between workplace daylight exposure and the employees’ sleep, activity levels and general well being. To increase natural light in the workplace is easy – simply open windows and blinds whenever possible, turn off lights when they’re not in use and change light bulbs to more energy efficient models that aren’t as harsh as regular lights.