Companies have ramped up their office design in recent years in an effort to create a hospitable environment that employees actually want to be in.
However, one aspect of the office that is often overlooked can have the biggest impact on workers returning to the office: natural light.
Years ago, a survey from Future Workplace showed that access to natural light and outdoor views was the most desired feature of the workplace, outweighing other amenities such as on-site gyms and childcare services.
The survey also found that a lack of natural lighting was also associated with a poor employee experience, with 47% stating feeling tired or very tired due to not having access to proper lighting.
“In addition to the many biological benefits of natural light like boosting vitamin D — which strengthens the immune system — and the fact that it triggers the release of serotonin, access to natural light throughout the day actually helps us sleep better,” said Anne Gibson, national practice leader with NELSON Worldwide.
Since the Future Workplace survey, evidence has grown that there is a direct link between natural light and employee satisfaction. Incorporating this feature into office design will be essential to the future of work.
Some firms have taken note of this and are making an effort to expand their space to add proper lighting. For instance, investment banking firm Ducera Partners reached out to workplace designer Ted Moudis Associates to include tinted glass walls that give occupants sweeping city views, as well as making the entrance area bright and open for both clients and employees.
Not only does natural lighting have an impact on the atmosphere of an office, but it can also help companies achieve their Environmental, Social and Corporate governance (ESG) efforts.
For example, design firm Pininfarina outfitted a Mexico City corporate office building with gardens and a rooftop terrace, offering easy access to natural lighting as well as making environmental-friendly contributions.