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How Does Daylight Affect Worker Productivity?

Boost Worker Productivity


How Does Daylight Affect Worker Productivity?

From the dawn of the electric age, scientific research has shown that access to natural lighting is one of the most important factors in boosting worker productivity and overall well-being. From silk weavers in the 1920s to workers in the high-tech offices and mega-warehouses of today, studies paint a clear picture of the vital need to provide employees with quality daylight.


The impact of natural lighting on workers is widespread and comprehensive. These are just a few of the benefits revealed by recent research that compared worker productivity in artificial lighting vs. natural daylighting:


-   A Cornell University study of hospitals showed that nurses who had regular access to daylight exhibited better moods, laughed more and were nicer to their patients. They also communicated more effectively with their colleagues. Physiological effects were also evident, including a notable decrease in blood pressure for nurses working in natural light.

-   A Northwestern University study showed productivity gains tied to overall health. Workers who spent the day in natural light exercised more, reported fewer physical ailments, and slept for an average of 46 minutes longer each night than their colleagues with no access to daylight.

-   A National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) meta-study revealed a huge range of benefits for employers who provided their workers with daylighting. Along with direct effects like a decrease in the “afternoon slump,” improved worker concentration and better mental focus, employers also reaped substantial tertiary benefits, including absenteeism rates that declined from 15 to 60 percent, turnover rates that decreased by as much as 200 percent, and productivity gains from two to 30 percent or more.


Case Studies


The NREL meta-study took an in-depth look at multiple companies to see what impact daylighting had on their worker productivity. Here are some of the results:


-   After building a new facility that increased workers’ access to daylight, Lockheed Martin reported a 15 percent increase in productivity.

-   VeriFone built a new daylit facility, in which workers reported a five percent increase in general productivity and an increase in product output of nearly 30 percent.

-   After shifting its office layout to increase access to daylight, West Bend Mutual Insurance saw a three percent increase in general productivity and a 16 percent increase in claims processing productivity.


The Importance of Daylighting Done Right


While increased access to natural light always leads to an observable improvement in worker productivity, studies also show how important it is to implement that lighting scheme appropriately. In some cases, new windows and other daylighting methods that introduced sunlight glare and thermal discomfort were found to nearly cancel out the net benefit entirely, and frequently became a fresh source of worker dissatisfaction and complaints.


These issues can be difficult to overcome when a company takes an outmoded view of daylighting and focuses only on introducing windows or performing expensive skylight renovations. Fortunately, the introduction of Tubular Daylight Devices (TDDs) from Solatube International, Inc. has made it possible to mitigate these concerns.


Through the use of innovative tubular structures that filter sunlight for UV rays and excessive heat, Solatube Daylighting Systems are able to provide workers with glare-free, comfortable natural lighting. TDDs are also substantially easier to install than traditional methods, as they don’t require costly construction and can be easily integrated throughout a building via relatively small rooftop units.


To find out how companies can use Solatube Daylighting Systems to improve workplace productivity, visit Solaglobal today.

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