Light is key to creating a healthy workspace
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Employers spend around $1500 per staff member annually on benefits to improve their well-being, according to a report from Business NZ and Southern Cross Health1. Think extra vacations, discounted gym memberships, and healthy food.
But are employers investing in what office workers actually want?
In late 2020, we conducted our own survey of 1,000 office workers across Australia and New Zealand to find out what makes a good workspace environment. Of the people we surveyed, over 90% told us that temperature, lighting, and ventilation were most important, followed by noise at 85%. Interestingly, décor and plants both lagged far behind.
Our results mirror a survey of 1,600 North Americans that found that what people want most are the basics: lighting and air quality2.
Access to natural light is #1
The same North American survey found the number one office perk is access to natural light— not standing desks, onsite catering, or any other wellness trend3. Our respondents echoed these findings. Over 90% of respondents told us they’d prefer a workspace near a window, while nearly half of the respondents told us they preferred natural light over a combination of natural light and artificial light or artificial light alone.
Our craving for natural light is rooted in our biology. As humans, our circadian rhythm depends on daily exposure to natural light. Without it, our circadian rhythm can slowly de-synchronise from the solar day, leaving you feeling chronically jet-lagged.
"Over 90% of respondents told us they’d prefer a workspace near a window..."
Access to natural light remains a challenge for office workers across New Zealand and Australia. Typically, only a fraction of the desks are near windows. 40% of our respondents felt unable to see as much of the outdoors as they would like. To add to that, most windows are glazed with a filtering treatment. As a result, even the next row of desks nearest to the window do not get the biological benefit of daylight.
OSIN believes everyone deserves access to the light that supports their circadian rhythm. We are a Kiwi start-up using innovative technology to bring the benefits of natural light into any workspace. Learn more
- Astwick, N. & Hope, K. Workplace Wellness Report. https://www.businessnz.org.nz/resources/surveys-and-statistics/wellness-in-the-workplace-survey/2019-Workplace-Wellness-Report.pdf (2019).
- Meister, J. C. Survey: What Employees Want Most from Their Workspaces. Harvard Business Review(2019).
- Meister, J. C. The #1 Office Perk? Natural Light. Harvard Business Review (2018).