Let there be Light! Benefits of Natural Light in the Office

How much natural light does your office have? Many offices focus on artificial light sources in the form of overhead fixtures, standing lamps and desks lamps. While there’s nothing necessarily wrong with these options, embracing natural sunlight in your office offers some amazing benefits that shouldn’t be overlooked. So if you’re planning to redesign your office, check out some of the following benefits of natural light.

It Improves Workers’ Sleep

As any seasoned office worker already knows, sleep and productivity go hand in hand. When you don’t get enough shut-eye at night, you’ll wake the following morning feeling tired and groggy — or worse, you may sleep right through your 6:00 AM alarm. And showing up to work late looking like you just rolled out of bed isn’t going to help you win any employee-of-the-month awards.

Getting a good night’s rest is easier said than done, but increasing sunlight in the office may help. According to a study conducted by researchers from Northwestern Medicine and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, office workers who were exposed to more sunlight slept longer than their counterparts.

It Keeps Workers Happy

Other studies have found that workers in naturally lit offices have lower levels of depression. Everyone is bound to develop a case of the “blues” from time to time, but bringing more natural light into your office may improve your mood by countering these negative emotions. This is because exposure to natural light reduces levels of cortisol in the body — a stress hormone that’s associated with depression and anxiety.

It Improves Productivity

Will opening the blinds help you finish those dreaded TPS reports on time? While there’s no definitive answer to this question, some research indicates yes. Dim artificial lighting causes eye strains and visual discomfort, which can in turn lower workers’ productivity. Embracing natural lighting in the office counters this phenomenon by allowing workers to see more easily and without straining their eyes. And conventional wisdom should lead you to believe that workers are more productive when they can see what they are doing.

There’s also something just energetic associated with sunlight. When a worker sees and feels the sun’s rays beaming down, he or she will feel more energized and ready to tackle whatever the day has to throw their way. A study conducted by Mirjam Muench reinforced this theory, indicating that workers in naturally lit environments have a higher level of alertness throughout the day.

As you can see, there are many reasons to embrace natural light in the office. From improving workers’ sleep and mood to boosting productivity, natural light is something that every office manager should incorporate into his or her workplace. Besides, most workers will appreciate the view of an open window.