Daylighting and Comfort: How to Create a Productive Environment with Natural Light

The Comfort of Daylighting BringsOne of natural light’s biggest benefits is its ability to create ultra-productive work environments. From high-tech offices to production centers, businesses of all types can benefit from the increases in productivity made possible by natural light.

In this guide, you’ll learn how to identify lighting factors that are reducing output in your current work environment, how to improve productivity using natural lighting, and work out how to increase employee motivation using natural sunlight.

Natural Light and Productivity: The Science

Swiss researcher Mirjam Münch has spent decades studying the effects of artificial and natural light on happiness, health, and productivity. Her scientific studies have highlighted a biological truth that the business world is rapidly embracing: that the amount of work a person can complete is related to their work environment.

Artificial light – a form of lighting that, until very recently, was the standard for most office workplaces – is a drain on productivity. The side effects of extended exposure to natural light range from failing health and a weaker immune system to a reduced daily work output and feelings of fatigue late in the day.

Ms. Münch recommends natural light as a replacement for artificial lighting. Read on to learn the five core principles of lighting your workplace – whether it’s an office or a manufacturing facility – to achieve all of the benefits of natural lighting with none of the downsides.

Putting Natural Light into Action

Putting natural light into action in your workplace isn’t difficult. These five simple tactics make it easy to incorporate a daylighting system into your office building or manufacturing center.

1. Avoid angling light towards monitors and LCD displays

Even modern LCD screens can become difficult to use when exposed to too much natural light. One of the best ways to maximize the productivity boost provided by daylight is to angle your workstations away from any light sources.

Keep LCD screens and televisions perpendicular to light sources to prevent natural light from costing you more productivity than it provides. In extreme cases, you may want to invest in anti-glare film to make your computer displays more visible.

2. Use film to reduce natural light in overly bright areas

Installing protective film on your windows is a great way to control the amount of natural light that travels into certain areas of your office. UV film can be installed in a variety of shades to slightly or substantially reduce light transfer from the sun.

If a certain corner of your office is overly lit, consider installing film to reduce the amount of light that travels into the room. Sometimes, it’s better to use a blend of natural and artificial light than it is to use an abundance of natural light alone.

3. Large office environment? Use skylights instead of windows

Skylights are an excellent choice for effective daylighting. Not only do they provide a huge amount of natural light for efficient working, but they can also be used to light areas of a room or large office that are difficult to reach with exterior windows.

In most cases, you’ll want to install special film on your skylight to ensure that calm, diffuse light travels into your room. Skylights can also be used to transfer light from a level above your office to illuminate a room that receives very little natural light.

4. Reduce interior dividers to allow light to travel naturally

Interior dividers such as office cubicles and staircases can prevent light from getting from one side of a large office environment to another. Try to minimize the amount of dividers that block light from traveling naturally through your office.

In a manufacturing environment, this could mean creating a more open workspace for your team. In a fulfillment center or storage building, it could also mean using a more organized and focused stacking system to encourage natural light flow.

5. Install skylights and windows to track the sun’s movement

The best skylights are installed strategically to capture sunlight in both the morning and afternoon. Good architects and experienced daylighting contractors will be able to design and install a system that captures the maximum amount of natural light.

Speak to your daylighting company about the most effective option for your office or workplace. In some cases, you may want to install a system that captures lots of light but does not cause your workspace to be exposed to direct, ultra-bright sunlight.

“Image courtesy of adamr / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”

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