How Can Natural Lighting Combat Workplace Depression?
By Torrin Greathouse | September 07, 2017
Lack of exposure to the daily cycle of natural light negatively impacts human psychology. When most of the day is spent under artificial lights, the body does not function properly to keep the body active, alert, and healthy. This imbalance leads to symptoms of depression.
Natural, broad-spectrum daylight is the most effective means to regulate the body’s natural hormone cycles. When cortisol, melatonin, and serotonin are produced in the right amounts and at the right times, the body’s needs are satisfied and a person feels happier, calmer, and stronger. Disruption of the body’s daily cycle weakens the immune system and leads tiredness, anxiety, and depressed moods.
2. Pleasure of Natural Views
Open windows and skylights with views to the outdoors are known to lessen stress and increase positive feelings. Research suggests that natural views create general feelings of pleasure, sustained attention, and wakefulness while at the same time diminishing negative emotions such as anger and anxiety.
3. Connection to Nature
Humans have an instinctive connection to the natural world. Those who argue in support of biophilia even go so far as to say that human genetics require a connection to the natural world for a healthy life. Exposure to sunlight, which regulates the body’s natural processes, is one of the most fundamental elements to human well-being, reducing stress and improving mental performance.
Depression in the workplace is not only bad for the workers who suffers from it, but it is also bad for the companies that they work for. Feelings of depression are linked to a slow pace of production and low morale, which contributes to financial losses.
Attending work while in a condition that makes one unable to perform tasks efficiently, also known as presenteeism, affects both the quantity and quality of people’s work. Depressed workers lose money for the company every day. In order to generate the highest rate of profit, the workplace environment must be planned and built to enhance the happiness, morale, and productivity of employees.
Natural lighting systems are one of the most cost-efficient means of offsetting depression in the workplace. Not only do they reduce the use of electrical lighting and the cost of utility bills, they also simultaneously increase worker productivity. While windows bring in natural light as far as 30 feet from the exterior walls, this still leaves portions of the office out of its reach. Commercial and industrial skylights can bring in natural light to areas of a floorplan that are far out of the reach of windows.