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Natural Light Linked to Worker Health

Aug. 13, 2014

Natural light's benefits to workers extend far beyond the workday.

Everyone knows that natural light is beneficial for occupant productivity while they're at work, but a new study suggests the benefits extend to all aspects of the worker's life.

According to a study by Northwestern University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, occupants of a workspace containing windows that provided natural light not only were more productive at work but also got more sleep during off hours, were more physically active, and generally reported having a higher quality of life than those who worked in spaces with no access to natural light.

In contrast, the workers who did not have access to natural light via windows near their workstations recorded more role limitation due to physical problems, less vitality, and poorer sleep quality. Those measured also got an average of 46 minutes less sleep per night than their counterparts working near windows.

Mentioning the documented dangers of sleep deprivation and the productivity and health advantages of having access to natural light, the authors of the study urge office designers and facility managers to keep window placement at the forefront of their minds when designing or re-designing office spaces.

Don't have the opportunity to change your windows? Try switching to better sources of artificial light: Are Your Occupants Sleep Deprived?

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