Natural Light and Productivity

Natural Light and Productivity

Workplace productivity is an obvious concern for employers, but certain factors that influence overall productivity are often overlooked, such as lighting. There is much more to workplace illumination that just turning the lights on or off; in fact, an employer’s choice in lighting can have a profound effect on the productivity of their company.

The American Society of Interior Design conducted a study which revealed that 68% of employees complain about the lighting of their offices. If such a large portion of interviewed workers found their lighting situations troublesome enough to complain about them, it suggests that many employers may be making similar mistakes. The two most common complaints of workers were that the lights were either too dim, or the type of light was harsh.

Renovations that increase natural light result in happier workers who have higher levels of productivity and satisfaction.

Problematic Artificial Illumination
When lights are too dim, workers can experience headaches, eye strain, and reductions in reading speed and comprehension. An overly dark workplace can also cause sleepiness and impede focus, affecting their motivation to work and overall satisfaction. Harsh lighting is a much more pervasive problem than dim lights, and is just as harmful. Harsh artificial lights, such as fluorescents, are a known trigger of migraine headaches, and can cause eye strain and lack of focus in the similar fashion to dim lights. Solutions that replace artificial illumination with natural light should be sought whenever possible.

Natural Lighting: The Solution
A British study, published in “The Responsible Workplace”, discovered that windows were the primary contributing factor to occupants’ satisfaction with a building. The effects of natural light on the human body is twofold; obviously, light helps us see, but in addition to this, exposure to natural light has significant effects on our mood, behaviour, and hormonal balance. Renovations that increase natural light result in happier workers who have higher levels of productivity and satisfaction.

How Much Does Natural Light Effect Productivity?
Although the cost of a lighting renovation can be intimidating, the subsequent gains due to energy savings and increases in productivity quickly recoup the initial investment. A case study from the U.S. post office in Reno, Nevada illustrates this principle. In 1980, the office underwent a renovation to increase natural light in the office. The energy savings of the renovation were a not-insignificant $50,000 per year, but the increases in productivity were truly astounding. Mail sorters and machine operators became more efficient and produced fewer errors, resulting in a revenue boost of approximately $500,000 per year. This case study is not particularly unique; many other companies have experienced serious increases in productivity due to lighting renovations.

Harsh and dim lighting severely impair the ability of employees to do their jobs. Finding solutions to include more natural light in the workplace only has beneficial results; you reduce your expenses on energy, and increase the overall productivity of your business. If you are interested in increasing the productivity of your business, please don’t hesitate to give us a call or send us a message so we can help you meet your goals.