The Benefits of Natural Sunlight in Your Office

What is ergonomics, and why does it matter?

For a long time, office design meant long rows of high-walled cubicles and sterile artificial lighting. Windows were reserved for private offices and board rooms, where the most important employees and guests could enjoy the luxury of a view.

Modern office design is almost the opposite. Now that we know how much good natural light does for humans, more companies have shifted to more healthful offices with plenty of sunlight and space.

There are lots of good reasons for that change in design principles. Here are a few.

Natural Lighting Reduces Energy Costs

According to a study by the Carbon Trust, up to 40% of a building’s electricity costs are allocated to lighting.

Some of that cost can be mitigated by adopting habits that are less wasteful, such as turning off lights when people aren’t around to use them. With more natural light in your workspace, you may not even need to turn the lights on.

Let some sunlight in through windows and skylights and take advantage of free natural light instead.

Natural Light Helps Reduce Eye Strain

We all know that staring at a computer screen all day is bad for your eyesight, and yet most jobs involve exactly that.

Bias lighting behind computer monitors is designed to help fight things like headaches, fatigue, and long term vision problems that can crop up from prolonged eye strain. Allowing more sunlight into your office does the same thing, though.

Natural light also improves color perception and visual clarity, which is especially important for jobs that involve things like design that require precise visual skills.

That lower strain helps keep productivity high throughout the entire day. Think about it: haven’t you ever succumbed to screen fatigue long before your workday was supposed to end? So have your employees.

Boost Mood and Productivity with Sunlight

More exposure to sunlight during the day makes it easier to sleep at night. Sunlight triggers natural biological processes in the human body which keep us energized during daylight hours, and when that light goes away, we start winding down for sleep.

Those biological processes are called circadian rhythms, and they’re important for a lot more than sleep.

When our circadian rhythms are out of whack, stress levels increase, productivity plummets, and it’s hard to find the energy to get things done.

Multiple studies have found that more exposure to sunlight during the workday correlates with better productivity, fewer sick days, and higher employee satisfaction. Let the sun shine in, and you’ll reap the benefits.

How to Get More Natural Light in the Office

Skylights and windows are the keys to natural lighting. Logically, if you want more sunlight in your office space, you should install some skylights or upgrade your windows.

Of course, major remodeling projects aren’t practical for everyone.

Start by keeping the windows you already have clean and unobstructed. You probably already have some windows, so put them to good use.

You can also rearrange your workspace to get the most out of your existing lighting. Instead of putting meeting rooms and private offices closest to the windows, arrange desks so that the most frequently used workstations are closest to natural light sources and less frequently used spaces are in central, windowless locations.

When you prioritize wellness in your office, you’ll find ways to make it happen. It’s not as hard as you might think.

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