What creates a healthy work environment? Well, many people will narrow it down to one thing — lighting. Natural light has been shown to affect humans in many different ways, from the way they feel to how they sleep.
Employees are often spending hours at a time in the office, whether they’re sitting at their desk or meeting with clients. Because of this, workers across the nation are calling for employers to create workspaces filled with natural light, now more than ever. In one recent study, 80% of office workers that were interviewed reported that good lighting in their workspace is essential to them. Since so many place importance on their lighting scenarios, it’s obvious to see why it should be a priority for employers.
This impact on employees’ well-being will drastically impact your company’s performance. Creating an environment that allows ample natural light to shine through will help your workers stay at the top of their game. Plus, you’ll also provide your business with ways to reduce those pesky energy bills that eat into your revenue every month.
The rest of this article will help you understand the benefits of natural lighting and the steps you can take to bring your vision to life.
Effects on Employees
On average, humans spend 90% of their time indoors surfing the web on their computers, texting on their phones or watching television. This screen time will add up and can lead to increased fatigue, eye strain, blurred vision, and headaches, especially when combined with poor lighting.
This appeal for more natural light comes with scientific support showing that natural light has numerous benefits to our bodies, improving an employee’s daily work experience. To start, sunlight is an essential provider of vitamin D, which is a vital nutrient known to decrease the risk of heart disease, diabetes, weight gain and some cancers. A boost in vitamin D will encourage bone growth and strengthen immune systems, keeping your workers healthy and feeling their best.
As the days get shorter and darkness begins to creep in, employees may feel more drained or moody as the seasons change, causing depression in the form of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). However, these mental health issues don’t just occur in the winter months. Some studies show that more than 6.8 million adults suffer from general anxiety disorder (GAD) and roughly 9.5% of adults suffer from a depressive illness each year — and light could be a solution.
Sunlight promotes the release of Serotonin. When natural light enters the eyes, the retinas send a signal to the brain to activate the release of this neurotransmitter. While scientists don’t fully understand what causes depression nor how to cure it, serotonin can shift and improve someone’s mood after just 13 to 15 minutes of exposure. This increase in serotonin also raises melatonin levels, improving sleep quality and decreasing drowsiness throughout the day.
Natural light drastically impacts the well-being and mental health of your employees. These essential components ensure workers are engaged with their work, offering increases in overall productivity. Your company will have the resources to produce high-quality results year-round with a successfully integrated natural light design.
Effects on Cost
Every year, businesses across the country experience drastic increases in their utility bills. Artificial lighting typically accounts for a third of these expenses adding up to hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars, as companies rely on it throughout their daily operations. In fact, businesses across the country collectively utilized around 152 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of artificial lighting in 2021.
Natural lighting is an often overlooked, readily-available resource your business can use to reduce energy expenses and increase your bottom line. Companies wanting to cut back on costs should consider implementing convenient natural lighting strategies throughout their workplace, which could be as simple as turning lights off during the day. Integrating this simple solution could reduce your lighting expenses from 10% to 40%.
Since natural lighting will boost your employee’s productivity, you could also see savings in other areas. But, how much can it really help you save? Well, with an annual payroll of $100 million, a 2% increase in productivity could provide you with $2 million in savings. Scale this to your circumstances, and your business will see an increase in performance and output to produce high-quality work that drives revenue and offers unrivaled savings.
Natural light is a viable cost-cutting solution for businesses of all sizes, enabling you to reap the rewards regardless of your renovation budget. A steady flow of natural light will help you cut back on your monthly bills and save more of your hard-earned cash while creating an attractive environment for a buyer if you ever decide to move offices.
How to Implement Natural Light in the Workplace
The first thing you should consider when implementing a natural light-focused design strategy is to install an adequate number of skylights and windows. The quantity, size and placement of these windows or skylights will depend on the light you need, your type of workspace and your privacy needs.
However, integrating natural light into your workspace involves much more than just adding more windows. This process is known as daylighting, a controlled design strategy to create a system that reduces artificial lighting and energy costs while creating a visually attractive environment for employees. These plans utilize intuitive technology and consistent architecture to maximize the effects of natural lighting.
These systems must strike a balance between heat gain and loss, minimize glare and maintain adequate light as the sun moves throughout the day. There are many components to the daylighting system, such as shading devices to block glare and windows with high-performance glazes to allow enough light and limit unneeded heat.
You should also consider responsive lighting controls to ensure your artificial lights remain off when there is enough natural light within your space. Devices like photosensors are beneficial in this area, sensing ambient light conditions and switching lights off when a room is already lit. Check out the following ideas to keep your space daylight friendly:
- Utilize glass walls and partitions to allow light movement and create a welcoming space.
- Paint ceilings and walls white to reflect light and increase brightness.
- Maintain an open layout design.
- Place windows following cardinal directions to optimize space through changing seasons.
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As a woman-owned industry leader, Gidel & Kocal Construction Company can benefit from natural lighting and integrate it into your next commercial project. Our team has more than 40 years of experience in the San Francisco Bay Area, equipped with the skills and knowledge to tackle any project.
If you’re interested in learning more about how we can help you, make sure to contact us online to speak with a professional today.