The Benefits of Natural Daylight to Health and Workplace Productivity
“Can I have the window seat? Please?!” A commonly heard request, not just confined to travelling on an aeroplane…
In workplaces up and down the country, workers jostle for the best desks in the house. The ones nearest the window.
Our yearning to spend our time near a window connecting with the outdoors isn’t just so we can watch the world go by or stare outside in deep thought. We humans thrive on natural daylight. Studies show that being exposed to natural daylight has mental health benefits, aids more restful sleep and improves productivity.
Natural Daylight and Mental Health
It’s well known that during the winter months, many of us suffer the symptoms of SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder. Symptoms include lethargy, irritability, low mood, tearfulness, anxiety, difficulty concentrating and low productivity.
There’s a direct correlation between a lack of daylight and our mental health. SAD is linked to a reduction in sunlight and fewer daylight hours. It can be a debilitating condition for almost half of every year. It leads to time off work and less time spent socialising and doing the things that we enjoy and fulfil us.
It’s even more important to increase our exposure to what daylight there is during the darker months. Even if we don’t suffer with SAD. Arriving at work in the dark and then leaving in the dark for endless months at a time is enough to make anyone feel blue.
That’s why so many healthcare professionals recommend getting outside at lunchtime. Whatever the weather.
If we go back to our cave dwelling days, there was no electricity for artificial lighting. Our ancestors rose with the sun and went to sleep when the sun went down. Following the natural rhythms of the sun meant they were able to get as much hunting and gathering done as the changing seasons allowed, maximising their chances of survival.
Hormones, our Body Clock and Daylight
Boosting Workplace Productivity with Natural Daylight
The Need for Biophilia in Architecture
Wanting to sit near a window is no flippant whim. It’s a basic human need, instilled in us by our ancient forbears. There’s even a word for it – biophilia, or, the innate tendency that humans have to want to connect with nature and other forms of life.
This need is so strong yet has been so overlooked in architecture for so long, that researchers are calling for an “increased emphasis on light exposure in the architectural design of future office environments”.
At NuDawn, we’re a leading manufacturer and supplier of bespoke architectural rooflights, skylights and flat rooflight glazing systems for the building and construction industry. We manufacture entirely in Great Britain and take pride in our safe, easily installed, practical and stunning solutions to flooding a building with natural light.
There’s irrefutable evidence that time spent thinking about the natural daylight in a building leads to a better engaged and productive workforce. A workforce that score higher in mental health measures and take fewer sick days. So can you afford not to be thinking about natural daylight and how it will impact on your bottom line?
Hannah de Gruchy, BSc (Hons)