The path to employee well-being is paved with natural light – research shows that exposure to daylight helps to regulate the body’s circadian rhythm, which in turn affects our ability to stay focused and energised. However, with employees spending increasingly more time in their workspaces, receiving sufficient exposure to natural sunlight becomes a problem.
According to Matthew Shang, principal of international design practice Hassell, industry benchmarks are shifting to consider the impact of light in the office environment. “While green building rating systems measure environmental impact, there’s a new system called Well that looks at natural light and general wellness,” says Shang, 44.
The Well Building Standard is the first rating system to focus on the impact of buildings on human health and wellness. It takes into consideration such factors as acoustic comfort, availability of restorative spaces and access to nutritious fare, among others.
For offices situated in densely populated central business districts, designers can improve the quality of lighting in the office by implementing such changes proposed by the Well framework: Enhancing daylight access, installing natural light lamps to mimic the changing intensity of sunlight throughout the day, and reducing glare from electric lighting sources. Gone are the days where only the corner office is privy to prime luminary real estate.