From improved health to increased productivity, daylight has a massive range of benefits both at home and in the office. This has made it one of the biggest focuses for office and home architects and decorators of the 21st century.
Over the last two decades, exterior windows have gotten bigger, skylights have gone from uncommon features to important parts of modern architecture and doors have changed from solid wood or metal to, in many cases, sheer glass.
While a great deal of focus has gone into improving the amount of natural light that enters workplaces, far less has gone into a topic that’s equally important: ensuring the light that does enter is evenly distributed throughout the work environment.
In this guide, we’ll share three simple strategies that can be used to improve your office’s interior to help natural light flow from the areas surrounding skylights and windows into the center of your office more easily.
Remove cubicles and other interior barriers
The 20th century office design of hundreds of interconnected cubicles might have been easy to assemble and organize, but it was a nightmare for productivity. Not only are cubicles unproductive – in many ways, they’re also highly unhealthy.
Cubicle walls are tall obstacles that block light from flowing deep into the office or workplace environment. There’s a reason cubicle-filled offices were so dependent on natural light – very little makes it past the cubicle walls into a workspace.
Removing cubicles from your office and replacing them with a more open system – one with flat desks and other surfaces that don’t prevent light from flowing – is an excellent way to increase the amount of light that transfers throughout your office.
Use glass doors and walls for interior offices
It’s hard to keep your office 100% open plan. From senior management to special project teams, certain individuals and groups will need to have their own offices to work privately or without distraction.
Instead of old fashioned offices with wooden walls that block sunlight, make sure your interior offices have glass walling. This allows light to travel into offices even when they’re deep in your building’s interior, reducing artificial lighting usage.
This natural light has a huge impact on mood and productivity. People in interior offices lit by natural sunlight (even in combination with artificial light) tend to be more productive, focused and satisfied at work than their peers.
Distribute skylights throughout your workplace
Many businesses in single-story offices understand the value that skylights can offer and invest in them to light their workplaces. Despite this, many stop far too early – a single skylight, or often two, is all they believe is required to light their office.
Instead of just installing one or two skylights in your office environment, make sure skylights are spaced evenly throughout your building to provide even lighting levels for your entire workplace. This can massively reduce your artificial lighting needs.
This is surprisingly easy to achieve without creating any glare or bright spots in the office. Skylights can be treated to create diffuse light that increases your office’s total ambient light level, providing functional light without any glare-related issues.
How could your office’s interior be improved?
Even if the edges of your office receive a large amount of natural light, the interior could be overly dependent on artificial lighting if you still use a 20th century-style arrangement with cubicles and large office dividers.
Seize the opportunity to improve your office’s interior and think not just about its aesthetics, but its ability to provide great natural light flow. A naturally lit office is healthier and more productive – two great motivating factors to make changes.