There’s a reason people daydream about being elsewhere when they’re stuck in an office building for hours on end. Many of these fantasies involve sticking our toes in the sand and soaking up the sunlight on a warm beach somewhere. If you’ve had this thought before, you’re not alone!
Studies have shown a direct correlation between the amount of daylight an office worker is exposed to and their overall health, not to mention satisfaction with their jobs! The Interdepartmental Neuroscience program at Northwestern University in Chicago has even found that more exposure to daylight can improve a worker’s productivity level and his or her sleeping patterns once they’re back home. If you didn’t believe our circadian rhythms had a huge impact on our health – now you know they do!
The university’s researchers found that office workers who received 173 percent more light exposure during work hours slept an average of 46 more minutes per night than those who didn’t have access to natural light. The “lightless” group also scored lower on issues related to physical problems and vitality when compared to their light-receiving counterparts.
Let’s face it, fluorescent lighting isn’t our favorite environment. It may be conducive to providing the appropriate level of brightness to a large group of people working on computers in a sprawling office setting, but it doesn’t mean you should spend eight or more hours under its spell. If you have direct access to a window, open it and let that natural sunlight in. If not, think about taking your lunch outside.
Workplace studies have also shown that workers report a higher level of satisfaction and creativity when exposed to more natural light. With this in mind, think about taking a brief meeting with a colleague out on the patio, or discussing the issue over lunch at an outdoor venue. It beats sitting in a conference room as long as the subject at hand doesn’t warrant a formal atmosphere.
So what are you waiting for? You could be reading this blog on your smartphone or tablet while you soak up satisfaction!