How Natural Light Affects Your Employees Well-Being

Being stuck in a guard booth all day long can be tedious.  Poorly designed booths can diminish alertness and cause both physical and mental health problems for employees.  Using a properly designed booth for your security guard, parking attendant, or ticket salesperson that maximizes natural lighting provides a myriad of health benefits.

In addition to providing an enhanced views for better visibility, natural lighting has a variety of health benefits to improve quality of life for employees.  Natural light exposure in workers has been shown to improve alertness, quality of life, and sleep quality according to a study by the University of Illinois and Northwestern Medicine.

Guardian Booths come with a variety of options for maximizing natural light, and also includes the option of tinted windows that let light pass through but provide increased privacy while also reducing heat absorption.

Increased Alertness

Security officers stuck in a small guard shack or parking attendants in a vale booth can sometimes face extended periods of inactivity.  By increasing natural light during the day which provides better sleep quality at night, workers are less likely to be drowsy while on duty and more alert at their job.  The study shows that workers exposed to natural light also tended to be more active and physically fit.

“There is increasing evidence that exposure to light, during the day –particularly in the morning — is beneficial to your health via its effects on mood, alertness and metabolism,”
Northwestern Medicine
study co-author
Phyllis Zee, M.D.

In addition, natural lighting effects showed an increase in worker activity and productivity. Miriam Munch from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology said light has a perceptible impact on non visual functions, such as alertness, mood, and performance.
Natural light increases productivity.  “Lighting conditions are likely to significantly contribute to modulation of alertness and productivity,” Munch said.

The U of I/Northwestern study highlights the importance of natural light in the workplace. Workers exposed to more natural light during work hours tended to exercise more and engage in more physical activity, which can lead to increased levels of alertness.

Abraham Taub a veteran paramedic worked many night shifts throughout his career and spent a lot of daytime shifts in poorly designed booths at first aid stations.  “I can tell you about all the negative effects associated with lack of exposure to natural light,” Taub said.  He learned first-hand the most pronounced benefit of natural light is its calming and peaceful effect on moods.
“I can tell you about all the negative effects associated with lack of exposure to natural light,”
− Abraham Taub
(CEO Guardian Booth)

Taub isn’t your ordinary guard booth builder.  In addition to being a paramedic, he’s also a third year medical student at NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine and currently in training at St. Barnabas Hospital in The Bronx.  “Good emotional health is the catalyst to good physical health and the ingredient for an overall better quality of life.”

Together with his long-time friend Abe Breuer who shared similar experiences as a veteran Emergency Medical Technician, Taub and Breuer co-founded Guardian Booths.  “One of the reasons we created Guardian Booths was the lack of natural light in booths offered by competitors,” Taub said.  Before starting Guardian Booths, Taub and Breuer used to contract with other companies for their guard shacks.  Customers always complained about the lack of windows.  Taub made it his mission to design a booth from the user perspective with the most possible windows for natural light and 360-degree visibility.

Better Sleep Quality

Windows providing natural light have a significant impact on sleep patterns. The study shows that workers that spent time in a workplace setting with windows providing natural light slept 46 minutes a night more than those that didn’t. Other studies, including those published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, show that windows provided a 173% increase in white light exposure during work hours.  White light (or natural light) exposure provided for increased sleep quality.

Man having a good quality sleep

The body craves routine, but adapts to its environment.  The natural cycle of waking and sleeping can be disrupted by a lack of natural light during daylight hours.  Working without natural light can cause the body to produce additional amounts of melatonin – the hormone that helps us fall asleep.  Natural light inhibits melatonin production, which helps shake off the drowsy feeling.

Better Mental and Physical Health

“Light during the natural daylight hours has powerful effects on health,” Zee said.  “People who get more light during the day may sleep better at night, which can also help improve health,” Zee cited as one of the health benefits of natural light.

Sleep plays a critical role in overall health.  The human body fights infection while at rest when energy can be utilized in fighting the infection rather than other functions.  A good night’s rest can help reduce illness and help the body repair.

Stress plays a major factor in health and healing.  Increased stress causes increased levels of the hormone cortisol.  Cortisol production is reduced during sleep to allow the body to rest.  Lack of sleep can play a key role in fatigue and depression.

“Phototherapy has been shown effective in reducing depression in patients with bipolar disorder or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – depression that results from decreased exposure to sunlight during the winter,”
BRE Group

Working in a windowless office can prohibit Vitamin D production.  Natural sunlight increases the body’s absorption of Vitamin D, which is known to help immune systems stave off disease and fight off depression.

“Light is the most important synchronizing agent for the brain and body,” Northwestern’s Ivy Cheung said in describing natural light health benefits. “Proper synchronization of your internal biological rhythms with the earth’s daily rotation has been shown to be essential for health.”

Financial Benefits

Increased natural light also has financial benefits for employers.

  • Saves money by reducing the need for artificial lighting
  •  Cuts down on employee turnover by providing a better work environment
  •  Reduces health care costs due to better overall health of employees

Conclusion

Natural light is better for everyone — workers and employers. “Exposure to natural light will put employees in a better mood,” Taub said.  “A happy employee is more likely to be productive, while less likely to quit his position with the company.”

There’s a real difference between Guardian Booth’s approach and that of competitors.  While working in the field, Breuer said, “we came across some guard booths on the market are literally made from porta-pottys or shipping containers and they add windows to call it a booth.”  That doesn’t lead to a good working environment. Guardian Booths have been designed from beginning to
end with the user in mind.

We can help you make a good decision about what type of guard booth, security enclosure, parking booth, or ticket booth you need.  For pricing information or for more information, visit our pricing page or contact us directly.

Q & A

Why is Natural Light Necessary? 

Natural light in the workplace is necessary for better mental and physical health. This includes increased alertness, better sleep quality and financial benefits.

What are the Health Benefits of Natural Light?

“Light is the most important synchronizing agent for the brain and body,” Northwestern’s Ivy Cheung said in describing natural light health benefits. “Proper synchronization of your internal biological rhythms with the earth’s daily rotation has been shown to be essential for health.”

What are the Effects of Natural Light in the Workplace? 

Better sleep. One study shows that workers that spent time in a workplace setting with windows providing natural light slept 46 minutes a night more than those that didn’t. Other studies, including those published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, show that windows provided a 173% increase in white light exposure during work hours.  White light (or natural light) exposure provided for increased sleep quality.

 

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