It's a well known fact of office life that ambitious employees value the square footage of their office space as well as its view. Don't you dare offer them a windowless office that's nothing more than a s^$%hole with a support beam. You might have to resort to bribery to relocate people to new projects.
Now researchers at Chicago's Northwestern University have found a "strong relationship" between workplace daylight exposure and employees' activity and sleep patterns. In the study, nearly 50 daytime employees, 27 in windowless workplaces and 22 in window-gifted workplaces, went about working and living while the researchers measured their exposure to sunlight. Here's the non-UVA induced damage:
Compared to workers in offices without windows, those with windows in the workplace received 173 percent more white light exposure during work hours and slept an average of 46 minutes more per night. There also was a trend for workers in offices with windows to have more physical activity than those without windows. Workers without windows reported poorer scores than their counterparts on quality of life measures related to physical problems and vitality, as well as poorer outcomes on measures of overall sleep quality, sleep efficiency, sleep disturbances and daytime dysfunction.So what can we conclude from such a study? Get more windows in your workplace already! Move the entire company if you must, because the benefits of natural sunlight on your workforce could well be worth it.
"The extent to which daylight exposure impacts office workers is remarkable," said study co-author Ivy Cheung, a doctoral candidate in the Interdepartmental Neuroscience program at Northwestern University in Chicago, Ill.
Alternately, you might simply invest in some man-made full-spectrum natural lighting like the Alaskans use during the long, dark winter. Anything but dank, dark fluorescent lighting that makes everyone look a whiter shade of pale. Man, that stuff is depressing. And don't forget to apply your sunscreen.