New studies are constantly discovering the benefits natural light over artificial light, yet many people are unaware of the benefits artificial lighting can offer. One major benefit is the way this changes productivity in a business. There are both physiological and emotional reasons for this increase. Below are just a few of the ways in which increasing natural light can aid productivity.
Daylight has been proven to be a natural trigger for reducing stress. This is extremely important when nearly 25% of Americans in the workforce admit to experiencing “extreme stress” on a daily basis. Exposure to natural light curbs stress levels, creating a more relaxed state, and lowering resting heart rates. This helps to prevent burnout and allows workers to function more efficiently.
Decreases Sick Days
Over the years, the health benefits of sunlight over artificial light have been well documented. Between the wealth of ailments it aids in the prevention of, and the way that it bolsters the immune system, natural lighting can drastically increase occupant health. A study from 2011 found that the health improvements were so significant that they reduce employee sick days by 6.5%. This helps to ensure more productive working hours, but also helps to minimize presenteeism, the practice of coming to work while too sick to work, which can be deeply harmful to productivity.
Boosts Employee Energy
Exposure to sunlight is also an important factor in productivity because it affects the body's circadian rhythm, which is responsible for the cycle of mental and physical changes that occur throughout the day. The absence of sunlight during the day, especially when it is substituted with blue spectrum artificial light, 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.
These factors, among others, lend to a drastic increase in workplace productivity. Replacing artificial light with natural increases focus, morale, short-term memory, and workplace satisfaction. Integrating natural lighting has the potential to increase workplace productivity in a variety of facilities by 6-16%.