Industry Insights

The #1 Office Amenity? Natural Light

Office with natural light

According to a 2018 Harvard Business Review article, surveyed office workers not only value natural light, but actually outrank it over other amenities such as on-site cafeterias, fitness centers and daycare facilities.  This begs the question: does daylight get the same attention during the building design process and is daylight even considered an amenity?  Based on respondents' lack of satisfaction with access to daylight in the workplace, the answer is probably no.


We don’t get enough daylight…and it’s a downer

The “Employee Experience” survey from Future Workplace served as the foundation of the HBR article. 

The survey found that:
- Over one-third of office workers felt they didn't get enough natural light
- 47% said they felt tired
- 43% felt gloomy due to the lack of natural light and windows

This data corresponds with our own 2016 survey data covered in this blog, reinforcing that this is a consistent issue.



Daylight makes employees better

There is good news though. Workers say that access to natural light and views (more on views in a moment) enhance their overall workplace experience, specifically:

  • 78% “improve overall happiness and well-being”
  • 73% “improve workplace satisfaction”
  • 70% “improve workplace performance”
  • 54% “improve organizational commitment”

This also correlates with our survey data which showed people that feel daylight enhances their mood, energy and perceived productivity levels.


Can’t forget views

The “Employee Experience” survey evaluated daylight and views together, so data reflect workers’ perceptions of both factors. The two are closely related, however, they also found a benefit specifically related to views of the outdoors. Over half of those surveyed stated that protracted screen use results in eye strain or headaches. 73% said that this causes them to want a visual break, such as taking a walk or just spending a few moments to enjoy a view to the outdoors. Unfortunately, views can often be impeded. Our survey found that, of those office workers who claim to get daylight at all, blinds obstructed views at least half of the workday.


Daylight and views are under-marketed

The HBR article highlights a direct connection between this desire for natural light and views and the broader trend towards designing workplaces to support occupant well-being. Occupants want to know how well a space supports their needs, and increasingly well-being is one of their top needs. This offers building developers, owners and designers a unique opportunity for differentiation in the market. The data suggests today’s workers value daylight and views, as part of a broader focus on wellness, but it is not marketed accordingly. The demand is there; it is up to the market to capitalize on it.