Not every workspace is a corner office with a view. But that doesn’t mean rank and file workers should be left without access to windows during their workday. There might be quite a few benefits for businesses that are willing to open up the workspace with exterior windows. Or so it would seem. Let’s take a look at some opinions from around the web.
Nature Is Good, Let’s Get More of It
According to an article published by the University of Washington, “The experience of nature helps to restore the mind from the mental fatigue of work or studies, contributing to improved work performance and satisfaction.”
Getting out and about in nature has the most profound effect, but even the visual stimulation of being able to see a natural scene out of a window could prove beneficial. As the article also points out, workers instinctively know they need this “green” stimulation. Those who don’t have a window view introduce twice as many natural elements (such as plants) into their work area compared to those who have a nature view at work.
Daylight at the Office Improves Nights at Home?
A good night’s sleep is certainly one key to a more productive day. According to a study conducted in Illinois comparing workers in windowed and windowless offices, there is a marked difference in sleep quality for those who get regular exposure to sunlight throughout the workday. “Their sleep logs showed that they slept an average of 46 minutes more per night and had better scores on measures for sleep quality, sleep disturbances and daytime sleepiness.”
More Studies Are Needed
The hard numbers to back up claims of improved work performance are still being gathered. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory reviewed some of the available studies and found that, in one, “Workers with the best outdoor view at their workstation, compared to no outdoor view, performed 10% better in the cognitive acuity test and 16% better in the memory test.” Other studies showed little or no improvement on a variety of different metrics.
A set of case studies evaluated in a Haworth white paper found no link between exterior views, access to natural light, and a superior workplace. “Contrary to predictions, neither percent exterior view nor daylight-only luminance was related to organizational quality, workstation quality or job quality, but as expected, these objective measures did not predict job performance/productivity.” In other words, even though common sense might suggest that companies offering larger and better outdoor views would have more satisfied employees, the jury is still out on whether this is really true.
What’s your experience? Does having a beautiful outdoor view help your employees work harder, faster, and smarter?