New Research: Natural Light May Improve Office Productivity

New information in the search for greater workplace productivity has literally come to light.

New research by Alan Hedge, a professor in Department of Design and Environmental Analysis at Cornell and View Dynamic Glass has discovered that natural sunlight may have a big impact on the overall health, happiness, and productivity of employees. That’s why certain offices are reimagining their environments to look more like forests with natural light filtered through indoor greenery.

This is part of an effort to keep employees productive and happy in an increasingly fast-paced and competitive sector. The science suggests the companies making their workplaces feel natural may be on to something.

The researchers compared employees in buildings with tinting smart windows to those behind regular glass to discover the following results.

Controlled daylight creates important benefits in terms of health and wellness for office workers.

Workers in places with optimized natural light reported an 84% decrease in fatigue like eyestrain, headaches and blurred vision. These are typically associated with prolonged computer use.

Employees in natural light were more alert- Those in offices with smart glass reported a 10% drop in drowsiness.

Improved performance was tied to natural light access- Workers near windows with optimized daylight exposure reported being 2% more productive. This adds up to a $100,000 per year value for every 100 workers, or $2M over the course of a lifetime.

Better indoor experiences are created by natural light- Workers in buildings with smart glass said there was a 40% increase in daylight quality. Meanwhile, lack of daylight and access to views makes it harder for an eye to recover from fatigue, while those close to windows reported 80% higher daylight satisfaction.

Stats like these are likely to push the growing trend of smart offices, smart buildings, and the technology that make up these structures and systems such as smart windows.