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Natural Light and Workplace Productivity

Posted by Tayler Feuling on

Employee compensation is often one of a company’s largest operational costs; and given the high percentage of revenue that it consumes, it is only sensible that an employer seeks to optimize that investment by improving staff productivity. An unengaged, unproductive staff member can cost a company thousands of dollars in lost time and revenue. Unfortunately, lack of productivity remains a common complaint among office workers with only 13 percent of respondents feeling engaged in their work according to Gallup statistics [1]. The good news, however, is that many of the causes behind a lack of productivity – including drowsiness, physical discomfort, and emotional distractions – can be mitigated with a daily dose of natural daylight in the workplace.

Natural light is one of the best regulators of the daily rhythms that we rely on to live happy, healthy lives; and studies show that employees with regular access to natural light sleep better, are more rested and alert, and are therefore more productive at work. According to the World Green Building Council, workers exposed to natural light report feeling more engaged and more willing to collaborate with other team members when they work in natural light [2]. This is confirmed by the Future Workplace Employee Experience Study that found that 70 percent of employees believe access to natural light and views improves their work performance [3].

With more energized employees, it’s not surprising that employers in office environments with plenty of natural light see a significant rise in staff productivity. It is estimated that even a two percent increase in productivity equals an additional $100,000 for every 100 workers with a salary of $50,000 [4], and research has found the increase in productivity from improved daylighting to be well above two percent. One 1983 study on the redevelopment of Lockheed Building 157 found that productivity rose a stunning 15 percent thanks to an increase in natural light [5]. Daylighting systems that provide soft, diffuse natural light can offer employers these benefits as well as the additional advantage of preventing glare and solar heat gain from affecting productivity and creating an uncomfortable and distracting work environment.

 

  1. https://www.workdesign.com/2017/05/harnessing-power-natural-light/
  2. https://www.newdayoffice.com/blog/benefits-of-natural-light-in-the-workplace
  3. https://hbr.org/2018/09/the-1-office-perk-natural-light
  4. https://hmcarchitects.com/news/the-benefits-of-natural-light-in-office-spaces-lighting-design-for-increased-employee-satisfaction-2019-03-27/
  5. https://journals.lww.com/jbisrir/fulltext/2010/08161/the_effects_of_exposure_to_natural_light_in_the.5.aspx

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