Let There Be Light! How to Make Happy, Healthy Employees!
Who knew something as simple as glass office partitions could transform your company? Here’s how Space Plus, a division of The Sliding Door Company, can help you bring in the light, and why that’s important.
Healthy employees are happy employees. Happy employees are productive employees. Productive employees make for successful companies.
Sounds like a simple enough equation, until you mull over the details. How do you empower your workers to stay in shape? How can business leaders give their team members the tools they need to stay on top of the ball?
Turns out, the easiest way is to let in the light.
The Dangers of a Windowless Life
Study after study has explored the relationship between lighting and health, as well as lighting and productivity. If they agree on anything, it’s that natural light works wonders for both the mind and the body, and that improves both focus and morale.
Take the well-known study conducted by Northwestern University’s Interdepartmental Neuroscience program, called “Impact of Workplace Daylight Exposure on Sleep, Physical Activity, and Quality of Life.”*
When researchers compared employees who with windows to those without windows, they found a significant disparity in wellbeing. Those who had the luxury of a window seat received almost 200 percent more white light exposure than those who didn’t. As a result, they received, on average, 46 more minutes of sleep per night.
That may not sound like a great deal until you consider the impact that a little sleep can have on a person’s emotional and physical wellbeing. Those who struggle to get adequate sleep tend to have weaker immune systems, higher rates of cancer, poorer focus, worse memory, and reduced attention span.
Those who work in offices without windows also suffer from depression at higher rates, experience hormonal imbalances and have trouble coping with stress and difficulty concentrating. In other words, working without natural light can negatively impact all those things your team needs to function at optimal levels.
The Many Health Benefits of Natural Light
On the flipside, those who work or study in well-lit environments tend to feel and perform better. That’s because sunlight:
- Increases vitamin D production.
- Regulates the body’s circadian rhythm.
- Helps maintain a healthy sleep cycle.
- Relieves eye strain associated with artificial light.
- Mitigates the symptoms of depression.
- Strengthens the immune system.
The takeaway? If you want a healthy, highly motivated team, you need to bring in the light—but how?
3 Three Ways to Increase Natural Light
There are many creative solutions to the light problem. Your best bet is to start with these three:
- Find an office with plenty of windows. The first solution is the most obvious, yet the most difficult. With office space increasingly sparse, it’s harder than ever to find real estate that features plenty of windows. If you can land a well-lit office space, the more power to you. If you can’t, there are still some things you can do to maximize the natural light you do have.
- Replace the cubicle with a glass wall. Office cubicles have a bad reputation, and for good reason. They’re ugly, they’re cumbersome, and they block light. If they’re not a relic of the past already, they should be. Glass office partitions, on the other hand, give you all the benefits of cubicles—privacy, noise reduction, foot traffic control—without the downsides (like being stuck inside a windowless box for at least eight hours every day).
- Install sliding glass doors instead of traditional doors. The more glass you have in your office, the more light will flow from room to room and space to space. That goes for walls, cubicles, partitions, and Basically, anywhere you can replace light-killing materials with glass, you should.
Most companies want healthy, happy employees. Helping them get there may seem like a giant task, but it’s easier than you think. With a simple office redesign, you can work wonders for overall well-being, morale, and productivity. Take a look at Space Plus’ innovative workspace solutions to find out how you can transform your office into an employee-friendly environment by letting in the light.
- *https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4031400/. the authors also published the results in a paper presented at the 27th Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies: https://experts.illinois.edu/en/publications/impact-of-workplace-daylight-exposure-on-sleep-physical-activity-