A recent study found that access to natural light is the most desirable feature in today's offices, ranking even above cafeterias, fitness centers and other premium office perks.
A separate study conducted by Professor Dr. Alan Hedge of Cornell University found that "natural light in an office significantly improves health and wellness among workers." His research found that workers in naturally well-lit offices experienced 51% fewer reports of eyestrain, 63% fewer headaches and 56% fewer reports of drowsiness.
While the number of windows in an office is the most important factor in the amount of available natural light, there are some other ways you can maximize the daylight without breaking down exterior walls. Here are a few ways to do it.
1) Glass walls & partition systems
Consider using glass walls and glass partitions to allow more light to flood throughout the office, instead of opaque interior barriers that make a workspace feel dark and depressing.
These solutions are especially useful if there is a limited number of exterior windows. Glass walls help to keep workstations enclosed and private, while making the entire space brighter and more open. In addition to individual desks, your conference rooms and other collaboration areas can also be enclosed with glass, enhancing both the aesthetic and function of the space.
2) New layouts
Another way to leverage the available daylight is to reconfigure the space so that workstations are closer to the windows. For example, if you have unused meeting rooms along the perimeter of the office where the windows are, and employees are mostly in the middle of the space, consider swapping them.
By moving workers closer to the windows, they'll have more access to natural light throughout the day. This not only brightens their workspaces, but also gives them access to outside views whenever needed to refresh and recharge throughout the workday.
3) Smarter shading systems
While natural light is highly desirable, no worker wants to be blinded by direct sunlight. Window shades are an obvious solution, but many offices make the mistake of using thick fabrics that block out too much light. Additionally, operating the shades can be a frustrating distraction when workers are forced to do it themselves.
Thick shades should be replaced by light-filtering fabrics that allow plenty of natural light to enter the space, while also shielding employees' eyes from harsh sunrays. Plus, you can eliminate the need for workers to manually lower the shades by installing automated shading systems. These can be programmed based on a schedule, or they can even be outfitted with sensors that automatically raise and lower the shades depending on the amount of available light entering the space.
4) More windows
The tips above can be beneficial no matter how many windows your office currently has. But if you're looking for the biggest impact possible, then it's time to consider a larger renovation. Increasing the quantity or size of your windows (including the addition of skylights, when applicable/feasible) will significantly increase the amount of natural light in your office, keeping your workers energized throughout the workday.
Discover how Rampart's glass walls, glass partitions and other office systems can help increase natural light in your workspace. Contact us today to learn more.