Natural light is the best office medicine
According to a new research, controlled daylight might unlock significant health and wellness benefits for office workers.
The study, conducted by Alan Hedge, a professor in the Department of Design and Environmental Analysis at Cornell University in the US, found that workers in “daylit” office environments report an 84% drop in symptoms of eyestrain, headaches and blurred vision symptoms, which can detract from productivity.
With office workers spending much of their time indoors, providing the optimal amount of natural light is vital. Unfortunately, office environments introduce a number of challenges. Most notably, uncontrolled natural light can cause unwanted heat and excessive glare on occupants' eyes and computer screens.
Consequently, windows are often covered with blinds or shades, contributing to spaces that lack in natural daylight.
To conduct his study, Hedge compared the experiences of more than 300 workers in offices across five different locations, who worked in buildings that either had traditional windows or auto-tinting "smart" windows that adapt to and control the sun's energy to optimise natural light and reduce glare.
Located in a combination of open and private offices, workers were situated within 10 feet of windows and surveyed on daylight and its impact on their productivity, wellness and health.
It was found that those sitting in offices with traditional windows reported a greater amount of drowsiness, and were 2% less productive than their counterparts who were exposed to the so-called “smart” windows.
"The study found that optimising the amount of natural light in an office significantly improves health and wellness among workers, leading to gains in productivity," said Hedge.
"As companies increasingly look to empower their employees to work better and be healthier, it is clear that placing them in office spaces with optimal natural light should be one of their first considerations,” he added.