Can Commercial Skylights Improve Employee Morale & Productivity?

By Jeff Brain | March 24, 2015

Commercial skylights are a cost-effective alternative to artificial lighting, which allow company owners to maximize their use of the free, renewable energy that the sun provides. However, skylighting and other daylighting techniques can reduce your operational costs in more ways than just through savings on the electricity bill. They can also improve how your employees feel about their jobs, how they interact with each other, and even how they manage their time on-the-clock.

If you own or manage a commercial facility, increasing its indoor sunlight exposure could have numerous positive effects on your company’s culture, growth, employee morale, and productivity level.

Raise Energy Levels

Fatigued employees are not capable of performing at their best. To ensure that your staff is as productive as possible, consider the ways their work environment affects their energy levels. Just as temperature has been shown to affect optimal worker performance, exposure to sunlight is also an important factor in productivity. Sunlight affects the human body's circadian rhythm, which is responsible for the cycle of mental and physical changes that occur throughout each day, including the rise and fall of energy levels. Daylight during the day and darkness at night are directly connected to the circadian rhythms in the body. The absence of sunlight during the day triggers feelings such as drowsiness and depression. Since commercial skylights maximize sunlight exposure, they increase the likelihood that employees will be alert and productive during the day.

Reduce the Number of Sick Days

The National Institutes of Health have also drawn a direct connection between sunlight levels and the strength of the immune system. If employees do not receive exposure to sunlight throughout the day, their immune systems and health will deteriorate as a result.  One 2011 study showed that daylighting and an open view to the outdoors can reduce employee sick days by 6.5%. Daylight strengthens the body so employees can go to work and perform at their best.

Improve the Training Process

In a study on the effects of daylighting in indoor office environments, the California Energy Commission (CEC) found that sunlight exposure actually makes it easier to retain new information, acquire new skills, and stay motivated throughout the day. Academic settings already take advantage of this phenomenon by installing ample windows in classrooms and common spaces, to stimulate student’s ability to absorb and remember the facts they learn in school. The CEC recommends that commercial and industrial architects apply similar daylighting techniques in work spaces by trimming trees that block windows and installing commercial skylights instead of relying solely on overhead fluorescent or incandescent light bulbs for indoor illumination.

Alleviate Stress

When employees are anxious, it is harder for them to focus on the task at hand, and their list of daily responsibilities is more likely to seem overwhelming and frustrating to them. The same CEC study explains that views of natural, outdoor landscapes or even sunlight alone act as physiological triggers that reduce stress and replace it with positive emotions. This effect has become known as Attention Restoration Theory. Its effects can be seen in one study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, which documented the heart rates of participants while they were exposed to both traffic sounds and chirping birds; the former increased heart rates while the latter lowered heart rates significantly. Natural light exposure from commercial or industrial skylights can also give employees a more enjoyable work life and help them to perform better as a result of decreased stress levels.

Commercial skylights improve employee morale and productivity, because they utilize the power of natural light. To learn more about Ciralight’s commercial skylights which combine solar power and GPS technology to actively reflect natural light from a set of mirrors into a building, contact our sales team today.

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