Natural light makes us feel healthy, energised and ready to focus, meaning it’s vital in the workplace. According to research by the Hagstotz Institute, workers rated lighting conditions as one of the key factors that influence them at work. Studies from Cornell show that workers exposed to natural light experienced an 84% drop in symptoms such as headaches, eye strain and blurred vision and took 6.5% less sick leave than their counterparts in darker rooms.
Read our tips below to maximise natural light in your office – and help you and your team be as productive as possible.
Open up your space
One of the easiest ways to maximise natural light in your office is to open up the space. An open-plan environment allows the light to shine through, instead of blocking it with dividing walls and desk partitions. A more open-plan office can also encourage employees to move around more – stimulating their productivity.
If an entirely open-plan office is not an option for you – try and use bright areas for breakout zones and team meeting places, so team members can use that space to feel energised as they collaborate.
If you have any outside space – make the most of it. Allowing employees to spend breaks and lunchtimes soaking up the sun can help improve their productivity for the rest of the day.
Make the most of your windows
If you’re lucky enough to have lots of windows in the office – make the most of them! Allowing natural light to shine in will help boost productivity – as well as reducing your electricity bill.
To maximise light while avoiding screen glare (or compromising on worker privacy) opt for vertical blinds that can tilted and turned according to the position of the sun. For maximum control over light and privacy – invest in mirage or vision blinds – with transparent screens that allow in the light but not the stares of passers by.
Alternatively, to create the effect of diffused natural light in the office – Luxaflex Duette blinds gently filter light to create a warm diffusion – without glare.
For even further flexibility, you could also invest in a motorised blinds system to raise & lower blinds when you know you need to bring in the sunshine or reduce glare, or time blinds to work around the brightest/darkest hours of the day.
Curtains are another option to control natural light levels. Sheer or semi-sheer curtains are best for drawing in natural light while adding a touch of elegance to your workspace. They don’t block out natural light entirely and provide a certain amount of privacy. Another option is to opt for curtains with light-filtering lining or a subtle print to let natural light in while also adding some personality to your workspace.
Choose light-reflecting colours
We’ve mentioned before how important colour can be when it comes to the mood of a space – but it also has an effect on how well the office absorbs or reflects natural light. Cool, pale colours (we recommend soft blues for their positive influence on relaxation and focus) help to reflect any light shining in to the room – creating a brighter environment.
Light enhancing accessories
If you don’t have much daylight coming into your office – you can make the most of the little you have with some light-reflecting accessories.
Mirrors can be used to great effect when placed in sunny spots. Not only do they make the room feel larger (giving an impression of airy-ness) but they can be angled to bounce light around the room- lighting up shady spaces. Consider installing mirrors opposite windows to reflect the light, or in dark corners to cast a little brightness.
Glass dividers can be used to create a sense of privacy in an office space – without preventing light from shining through. Some smart glass dividers can turn opaque at the touch of a button, giving you the option to let in the light or create complete privacy as needed.
If you don’t have many windows in your office, draw attention to them by using them to display slogans and branding. This eye-catching technique will encourage workers to regularly look up at the spot where natural light shines through.
Bring the outside in
When the sun isn’t shining, bring the outside in to create the feeling of daylight in the office.
Daylight desk lamps or light therapy boxes can replicate the brightness of natural daylight and combat feelings of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Used correctly, light therapy boxes can leave workers feeling more energised and reduce their stress levels.
Maintaining an awareness of the colour and lux levels of light within the office during winter seasons can have a huge impact on workers. Most work places are lit to 500 lux with standard interior lighting, while daylight produces up to 10,000 lux. Increasing illumination to 2000 lux in the workplace brings in a feeling of natural light, and has an energising effect on the body. You can download a lux meter app for free on the Google or App store to check the levels in your office.