The Case for Skylights, Windows, and Tearing Down Walls in the Workplace

According to the Global Human Spaces Report, natural light is the #1 desired natural element in workplace design. Sustainability plays a major role in the decision-making process of consumers and workers, by maximizing natural light through design you can help attract new clients and lower your workspace costs. 

Being exposed to natural lighting can have various benefits; from increased productivity, to better sleep patterns, to reduced stress, to ‘happy’ feelings, the pros of daylight can be endless. Embracing daylight and incorporating it into your workplace design can be beneficial for your members in terms of wellbeing and health, but it can also be beneficial to you as a flexible workspace operator in terms of costs and sustainability.

Let’s start by looking at how using daylight, a sustainable practice, can help you attract new clients.

Eco-friendly businesses and companies are quickly becoming mainstream. Consumers and customers are now more than ever leaning towards brands and companies that share their own values, among them is being environmentally conscious. A Bain and Company research from 2012 found that “two-thirds of respondents said they care more about the topic (sustainability) now than three years ago.” Considering those numbers are from 4 years ago and the effects of climate change are more visible, it’s safe to say that the number of people that care about and value sustainability have only increased.

This means that individuals are looking to purchase products and hire services that are socially and environmentally friendly. Just looking at how fair-trade coffee has become more popular and why more companies are adopting green practices is a good indicator of where things are headed in the near future. Employees and consumers alike are demanding this change; in the flexible workspace industry, if you want to continue to attract and retain members and staff, you will need to embrace the shift towards a sustainable future.

This is where skylights, windows, and tearing down walls come in. By implementing these design elements in your workspace you can attract new members and ensure that current members feel comfortable and content in your space. If you have people renewing their membership and new customers signing up, then you’re making money. But that’s not the only way these design elements can help you with your finances.

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One of the arguments for sustainability is that long-term they can help reduce operation and day to day costs. Although the original investment might be bigger than with conventional practices and materials, being a sustainable business is about being more efficient as a whole. Like this HBR article says, there needs to be a “willingness to buck conventional financial wisdom by focusing not on reducing the cost of each part but on increasing the efficiency as a whole.”

Nonetheless, many businesses and operators out there cannot easily commit to a substantial investment from the beginning. Which is why installing skylights and larger windows, and tearing down walls is a good way to start the process towards eco-friendly practices. For starters, it would allow for more natural light to come in and, as we already know, natural light is free to use. Not only this, but allowing more daylight in means that there’s a lesser need to use artificial lighting in the workplace, especially if unnecessary walls are torn down, which allows for the light to flow to more areas. This can help reduce your electricity costs.

The Department of Energy estimates that, by installing effective skylights and panels, a business can cut its usage of traditional artificial lighting by as much as 80 percent, resulting in a substantially lower monthly utility bill.” – Exterior Technologies, Inc

These are the initial economic advantages of installing skylights and larger windows. Long-term, if you decide to continue on the path towards sustainability, you could even be eligible for tax breaks, especially if you become LEED Certified and are using recyclable or reclaimed materials.

So yes, you might need to invest at first, but it’s an investment worth making. Your finances will look better in the future and your workspace members and staff will be more productive , they will feel happier, and will enjoy being in your space all the more.