In the 1980s, scientists and doctors began to piece together the effects of sunlight on our minds and bodies. Initially, it was Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD); the study of the effect reduced daylight has on our physical and mental wellbeing. Since those early days, ongoing research into the value of natural daylight and fresh air in the workplace, has led to the redesign of new commercial properties and the updating of others.
Not only do we need daylight for our daily dose of vitamin D. Natural light in the workplace reduces sick days, heightens creativity, improves productivity and increases the overall wellbeing of staff. So how do we get increased natural light into our offices, warehouses and factories?
Lighting up The Office
It’s no coincidence that increasing amounts of glass are being included in new commercial buildings. With the advances in glass production, no longer do large volumes of glass equate to the greenhouse effect. Stiflingly hot in summer, and cold in the winter. Sheet glass can now be manufactured which reflects the sun’s hot rays back into the atmosphere, while keeping the office at a pleasant work temperature.
For older buildings, replacing small existing windows and adding larger windows will lighten up the work area as well as the mind. Adding skylights, going open-plan and knocking down interior walls to allow available light to penetrate further into the building, will all help. It’s also very disruptive, time consuming and costly.
Let the Sun Shine In
From the very early days, fibre optic cables have been used to transmit natural light from source to destination. Now, with all the research into the benefits of natural light, fibre optics are being used to get daylight to the darkest corners of the workplace. In combination with solar collectors that track the sun, natural light can now penetrate deep into a building.
If you are interested in increased productivity and happier staff, take a closer look at the use of fibre optic cables, and add a little sunshine to your office.
Light for people and tasks alike
When designing light for a workspace, it’s important to think about both the tasks performed there, and the people doing them. Both these considerations are crucial for a healthy work environment. If you’re not lighting properly for the task, you run the risk of forcing workers to adopt unergonomic body positions to clearly see what they’re actually doing. And if you’re not lighting for the person, you’re simply have a much less pleasant environment for simply being.
Be sure to remember that the light should never be blinding. This is especially important when lighting for task, since the focus is so often in the same place during the process. One easy sollution for this can simply be to install lighting that is adjustable, in one form or another.