Why Natural Light is Vital to Creating a Healthy Workspace

natural light vital healthy workspace

As we head into 2021, home working is set to continue for many businesses, so making sure your employees’ home working environment is productive has never been more important.

After a recent YouGov poll revealed 57%1 of Brits who never worked at home prior to COVID-19 want to stay working from home in the future, it’s important that home workspaces are set up to create a positive environment so employees can be productive outside of the office.

Experts from Specialist Glass Products delved into the impact natural lighting can have on a home office and recommend that homeworkers across the UK choose their work space based on whether the room is north, south, east or west facing:

South-facing rooms – Ideal for winter home working and frequent video calls

As the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, the south side of any home will see the most hours of sunlight during the day. If you want as much natural light as possible in your home office, then a south-facing aspect should be a big consideration when choosing where to set up your desk.

South-facing rooms will provide warm light all day which will help to create a relaxed working environment. Alongside home offices, south-facing rooms are recommended for kitchens, main living areas and other rooms you spend a lot of time in. They also allow the most winter sunlight, so ideal for lockdown 2.0 home working.

If your staff work long hours or you require them to regularly attend video calls, a south-facing location is recommended for your employees. And if you’re planning for staff to work from home for the foreseeable future, a south-facing room could present the most longevity in terms of regular natural light during the day.

Professions suited: PR, Marketing, HR, Online Teacher etc.

North-facing rooms – Perfect for visual and creative jobs

North-facing views provide lighting that is consistent throughout the day. Natural light from northern exposure is not too harsh and not too dull, perhaps making it the ideal for a home office.

Although north-facing rooms can sometimes be fairly shady, temperatures will be more consistent meaning workers don’t need to mess with the heating throughout the day. A north-facing home office could provide more comfortable working conditions for employees who are sensitive to temperature.

Artists are known to choose north-facing studios because the light gives truer colour rendition whilst they work. So if you run a creative business where employees use multiple screens, experts would recommend a north-facing workspace.

Professions suited: Artist, IT, Graphic Designer, Illustrator etc.

East-facing rooms – Suited to early-risers and part-time workers

Eastern facing rooms bring more light in the morning, ideal for early risers. Lighting in east-facing home offices’ will be bright first thing in the morning followed by long shadows and little to no sun later in the day.

To counteract the lack of direct sunlight in the afternoons, workers could use artificial lighting to control glare and maximise the available natural light.

If you have staff who work part time or you encourage flexible working hours, an eastern facing home office is ideal for your employees. Allowing enough natural light first thing to awaken the senses, creating a productive and positive work space.

Professions suited: Journalist, Social Media Manager, Architect, Doctor and jobs which involve dealing with international markets.

West facing rooms – Ideal for jobs with limited screen time

Rooms facing west bring more light during the afternoon. This sunlight comes with the hottest part of the day and can often cause glare.

In the late afternoon, west-facing working spaces will get long shadows and softer natural light. Because the sun is so low in the sky, west-facing windows often get direct sunlight blazing through them. This makes them a bad choice for TV rooms, since strong light makes screens harder to see, so this should be taken into consideration if you job involves a lot of screentime.

Professions suited: Call Handler, Personal Assistant, Seamstress, Beautician etc.

Final thoughts

Lighting should play a big part in choosing where to set up your home workspace as too little, too harsh or too bright natural light can be detrimental to home workers. Employers should be encouraging their staff to pay attention to which room they set up their home office as it could be the difference between a happy and productive work environment and unsettling or distracting surroundings.

Warm light, from firelight or shaded lamps, is often used to help promote relaxation. Whereas, cold light, such as natural daylight, can improve productivity and alertness. This means that being in close proximity to natural light and windows is ideal for a home office.

We recommend business owners take the time to speak to their staff about their current home office setups and whether these are best suited to their working days and the industry they are in.

About the author

This article has been written exclusively for ByteStart by Andrew Taylor, joint managing director at Specialist Glass Products.

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Sources:

  1. https://yougov.co.uk/topics/economy/articles-reports/2020/09/22/most-workers-want-work-home-after-covid-19
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