We all know the discombobulated feeling of being stuck in a windowless room under fluorescent lights during daylight hours. One reason I've never been able to maintain a traditional 9-to-5 office job is that after a week-or-two of working without natural light my mind and body begin to short circuit and I quit.
Office workers with more natural light exposure at the office sleep better, are more physically active and enjoy a better overall quality of life, according to new data.
The study from Northwestern Medicine and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, highlights the importance of exposure to natural light to employee health and suggests that natural daylight exposure for workers should be a priority in the minds of architects who design office spaces.
Let there be light
Overall health of office workers has been found to be improved with natural light exposure in the office. Workers in windowless environments are not as healthy as workers who enjoy natural light.
Redesigning office spaces
Co-lead author Mohamed Boubekri, an associate professor of architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign added, “Architects need to be aware of the importance of natural light not only in terms of their potential energy savings but also in terms of affecting occupants’ health,” said
A simple design solution to augment daylight penetration in office buildings would be to make sure the workstations are within 20 to 25 feet of the peripheral walls containing the windows, because, as Boubekri notes, “Daylight from side windows almost vanishes after 20 to 25 feet from the windows.”
If you are currently working in a windowless environment—or suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) in the wintertime—you can greatly impact the SCN and your circadian rhythms by using a light box that mimics outdoor light.
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