General office privilege - natural light

Original author: Jeanne C. Meister
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The articles that tell about which office buns are most popular with employees of companies mostly include all kinds of quirks - work tables with a treadmill, places for a short sleep, actions like “bring your dog to work”.

However, a new study of our company Future Workplace called "The feelings of workers" suggests that in fact employees want something much more fundamental and necessary. In a survey of 1,614 North American workers, it was discovered that access to natural sensation and the view from the window was the most important office attribute — it overtakes such things as a cafeteria, a fitness center, and premium benefits such as their own kindergarten (the last privilege is from 4% to 8 % of companies from FORTUNE list 100).

The study also found that the lack of natural light and the view from the window harms the impressions of the workers. More than a third of employees believe that they lack natural light in the workplace. 47% of employees admit that they feel tired or very tired from the lack of natural light or a window in the office, and 43% say that the lack of light makes them discouraged.

These results support a growing trend in the importance of maintaining employee well-being. According to the latest report of the Gallup Institute "The State of the American Workplace“More than half of employees say that well-being at work is“ very important ”for them. In the same survey, it was determined that the second most important factor in choosing a job is the balance between work and personal time and overall well-being. When workers are well-behaved they feel in the workplace, they are more involved in the company's work and improve their personal performance.The

desire to work in places where there is access to sunlight and a good view from the window may also be a consequence of the increased use of mobile devices. dovanie eMarketer Mobile Researchsays that Americans over the age of 18 use mobile devices for an average of 4 hours daily. In the research “Sensations of workers” we found that 73% of the respondents agreed that the longer they use their technical devices, the more they need visual interruptions - walks or glances in the window of the world that is not closed.

Researcher from Cornell University, Professor Alan Hedge, confirms the connection of the natural feeling and well-being of workers. His recent study showed that optimizing the access of natural light to an office seriously improves the health and well-being of employees. It was found that employees in offices with daylight access complain less often on eye fatigue, 63% less headache, and 56% less sleepiness.

The fundamental health benefits of natural light have led some firms to rethink their approach to natural lighting and use this circumstance as an advantage to potential employees. A perfect example is The Spheres [Sphere], an Amazon office in a suburb of Seattle, which is also an artificial jungle with more than 40,000 plants. Amazon's areas are based on the assumption that access to natural light, living plants, healthy activities like walking help reduce work stress, and increase work enjoyment better than standard offices do. In contrast to other employers, Amazon decided to invest in the Spheres instead of other common buns, like free lunches and snacks.

Organizations too often design jobs so that directors in offices have large windows, while lower-level employees do not have access to light. But this does not have to be the case. Airbnb overcame this framework by developing its Portland call center. Instead of windowless workstations, which can usually be found in such centers, Airbnb Call Centerdesigned as an open space with access to natural light and surrounding views, and the tables with telephones are replaced with couches, stand-up jobs and wireless technologies. The advantages of this approach are clearly visible. In some EU countries, the maximum distance from the window to the employee is specified in building codes! They understand that the lack of natural light harms the sensations from the work of the employee, and as a result, the entire organization.

Of course, natural light was not the only important aspect of well-being in the workplace. One studyThe Harvard Institute, which is often quoted, showed that improving air quality dramatically increases the cognitive abilities of workers. But in a study from Future Workplace, it was found that 78% of workers report that access to natural light and window views improve their well-being, and 70% also talk about improved performance.

The idea that workplace settings are a problem exclusively from the real estate field is outdated. Today, employers understand that the working environment is included in the general impressions of the employee, and is a key lever for attracting talent, engaging them in work and retaining them in the company.

Directors are beginning to pay attention to how the workplace can increase productivity. Overstock office in 21,000 m 2Located in Salt Lake City, it boasts a panoramic view of the Salt Lake Valley. Instead of blocking the view of the blinds, the director of the company, Patrick Burne, wanted to do something that would connect his employees with the surrounding views. Therefore, the company installed 2,800 m 2 of “smart” windows that automatically adjust to optimize natural light, allowing workers to protect themselves from glare in monitors, and creating a more creative working environment. When the company's payroll is $ 100 million, even a 2% increase in productivity translates into a savings of $ 2 million .

Now think about your organization. Workers spend an average of 5 hours 42 minutes every day at the workplace.. The presence of natural light can increase the efficiency of your employees, their well-being and involvement in the process.

How can you think differently about the effect of natural light on the work in your company? Here are three tips on this:

Look at the workplace through the eyes of your employees . Today, business leaders know how useful it is to improve the employee’s perception of the company in the image of the best customer perception of this company. Practices such as design thinking and employee route planning[technology aimed at providing the employee with a positive perception of your organization from the first moment and throughout the time / approx. transl.] are increasingly being used to understand which parts are important to employees. Many companies are creating a new vacancy, the director of employee impressions, closely related to the work of the real estate director and director of IT, to develop and track how employee impressions are woven into the fabric of the business.

Listen to your employees to understand what kind of workplace they need.. Companies periodically conduct employee surveys, collecting feedback on several parameters - culture, performance management, investment in training and development. Now they need to include questions about the expectations of workers from the workplace and its impact on their well-being.

Consider creating an optimal workplace for all employees — both directors and ordinary employees.. It is not customary to create optimal jobs only for directors. Companies such as Airbnb and Overstock recognize the importance of a quality workplace for all employees, from directors to support staff. While employee impressions are becoming an increasingly important factor in attracting, engaging and retaining the most talented employees, the workplace is increasingly recognized as an integral part of this impression.

Companies are increasingly trying to make their employees work better and be healthier, and it is clear that their placement in office spaces with an optimal amount of daylight should be in the first place in the lists of necessary actions.

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