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Windows

Fluorescent lighting. Are there any two words in the English language that inspire more disdain from America’s workforce? (Okay, we can think of a few. But fluorescent lighting is among the worst elements of conventional workspaces.)

We know from experience that fluorescent lighting is harsh, uninspiring, and wildly unflattering, but corporate America’s reliance on fluorescent office lighting in lieu of natural light really a problem?

Science says yes.

Researchers at the Interdepartmental Neuroscience program at Chicago’s Northwestern University found that a “strong relationship” between daylight exposure at a workplace and workers’ sleep, activity, and overall quality of life.

Of course, we can’t all conduct business at the foot of an idyllic willow tree or in a meadow. Laptops attract dirt.

So what is the answer? It’s quite simple, really: windows.

Christopher Berglund covered the primary findings of the Northwestern University study in Psychology Today. Berglund reports that, “Compared to workers in offices without windows, those with windows in the workplace received 173 percent more white light exposure during work hours and slept an average of 46 minutes more per night. Workers without windows reported lower scores than their counterparts on quality of life measures related to physical problems and vitality. They also had poorer outcomes in measures of overall sleep quality, sleep efficiency, sleep disturbances and daytime dysfunction.”

Study co-author Ivy Cheung sums it up: “The extent to which daylight exposure impacts office workers is remarkable.”

If you’re a business owner or someone who has influence on office selection, take note. Daylight makes a difference.