How Daylighting Impacts Our Productivity

Increase Your (Or Your Employees) Productivity with Proper Lighting and Temperature

Daylighting has many benefits, and while most companies and studies focus on cost reduction, daylighting can have a more subtle, yet equally important benefit for yourself or your company.

People who work in natural daylight work more effectively, work longer, feel healthier and happier by the end of the day.

 

9386-7901Most people notice the difference between daylight and artificial light (think about working another day in the office, or spending the day outside) but typically don’t equate it to natural lighting.

A recent study by Mirjam Münch (and others) compared the two environments and recorded how performance, sleepiness, and hormonal activity. They studied two groups of people, one worked in natural daylight, the other in artificial lighting for 8 hour periods. Their results:

Subjects felt significantly more alert at the beginning of the evening after the DL (daylight) condition, and they became sleepier at the end of the evening after the AL (artificial light) condition. For cognitive performance we found a significant interaction between light conditions, mental load (2- or 3-back task) and the order of light administration.

4325_Foothills_Academy_PIn other words, even after just one work period, people felt more awake at the end of the work day (and through it) and slept better that night when working in natural daylight versus artificial light. They also performed better, especially on more difficult tasks, in daylight than artificial light.

One more important finding is that our cortisol levels drop significantly under artificial or poor lighting conditions. Cortisol controls our stress and energy levels, losing it prematurely means you are more tired and stressed throughout the day.

To put it briefly, spending the day in dim or artificial light makes us sleepy, less productive and stressed. This can be powerful knowledge to have in home and office design. Paying attention to your and your employees rhythms and needs can improve your and their productivity and make the place a more enjoyable environment.

Daylighting Study Reports by Heschong Mahone Group

Daylighting Reports for Offices, Schools and Classrooms, Retail Sales and Human Performance

The attached link below lists six Daylighting Reports:

    1. Windows and Offices
    2. Windows and Classrooms
    3. Daylight and Retail Sales
    4. Daylighting in Schools – PG&E 1999
    5. Daylighting in Schools – Additional Analysis
    6. Skylighting and Retail Sales – PG&E 1999

 Skylights were found to be positively and significantly correlated to higher sales. All other things being equal, an average non-skylit store in the chain would be likely to have 40% higher sales with the addition of skylights