Studies show that natural light in office spaces improves employee satisfaction and productivity. That’s because natural light helps regulate the body’s natural circadian rhythms (sleep-wake schedules). Research proves that natural light helps people be more productive, happier, and calmer. In this blog, we will delve into the positive effects of natural light in office settings, and discuss ways in which we can control light when needed for comfort.
Think About Design First
If you are moving into a new office building, it is wise to think about your design options and office layout from the start. The architectural and interior design of your space should consider a smart design, that optimizes light while still leaving room for privacy and focus. A great solution for this can be glass windows and glass partitions. With more windows and glass partitions, there is more opportunity for natural light to come through, while allowing for segmented spaces and privacy that may lead to higher productivity for some employees.
Natural Light and Employee Satisfaction
There are many studies and surveys about employee satisfaction that reveal employees crave something more fundamental and essential than just a desk in an open plan. According to Future Workplace, natural light and views of the outdoors are important in the workplace. In fact, the HR advisory firm found that employees desire natural light over onsite cafeterias, fitness centers, and premium perks.
But giving employees access to natural light isn’t just a nice-to-have office perk; it is directly linked to their satisfaction and productivity at work. According to Green Plants for Green Buildings, almost 50% of employees say they feel tired due to lack of natural light or a window in their office space. The lack of sunlight can also have a negative impact on employee attitude. Future Workplace also found in its survey that over 40% of employees reported feeling gloomy when their access to natural light is limited. These findings support the growing importance of employee wellbeing, which leads to increased employee productivity, engagement, and individual performance.
Natural Light Benefits in the Workplace
According to the Harvard Business Review, in some European Union countries, employee proximity to windows is part of the national building code. This is because they realize natural light improves the overall employee experience. The Review also states that 70% of employees report improved productivity when they have access to natural light. Today, employers know that the workplace environment is a key part of the employee experience equation. The atmosphere is a key lever to attract, engage, and keep top talent.
In fact, CEOs are starting to focus on how the workspace can lead to improved productivity. Overstock’s 230,000-square-foot office in Salt Lake City features a panoramic view. Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne wanted a solution to keep employees connected with the view while working. So, Overstock installed 30,000 square feet of smart windows, which adjust to optimize natural daylight. Workers can also shield glare from computer screens, creating a better work environment. With an annual payroll of over $100 million, even a 2% increase in productivity translates to a savings of $2 million.
Does Natural Light Mean No Privacy?
Now think about your organization. Workers spend on average 5 hours and 42 minutes at their desk each day. They should be in a space that promotes their wellbeing. For companies that choose natural light as a top priority, glass is a viable design option.
However, with all this glass and full transparency, the need for privacy and shading should be taken into account. In a workplace, there are times when privacy or the ability to temporarily block sunlight is critical — when you have an important client coming in for a confidential meeting, you have to lead a presentation in the middle of the day in a conference room with an external window that will ensure a glare on the projection, and more. Therefore, you need flexibility — and the ability to control natural light.
Gauzy LCG® offers a variety of switchable smart glass solutions that help optimize the use of natural light in office spaces. Liquid Crystal and SPD embedded smart glass windows create dynamic indoor partitions and windows in office interiors and exteriors. LC or SPD films are laminated into glass during manufacturing, or retrofitted onto any piece of existing glass, creating smart glass.With the press of a button, glass switches from transparent to opaque. This allows glass filled offices to become private instantly for discrete moments, or darkened for glare reduction or simply creating a more comfortable space. Ultimately, the end result is a spacious, quieter and inspiring workspace.
To learn more about switchable smart glass, or to make it a part of your office today, contact Gauzy for a free quote.