A recent study in the journal SLEEP, “Impact of Workplace Daylight Exposure on Sleep, Physical Activity, and Quality of Life,” found that workers who are exposed to natural light throughout the day were more productive and reported a higher quality of life than workers who were not exposed to sunlight throughout the day.
Giving all workers access to sunlight throughout the day is difficult. Traditional 10-foot tall windows allow sunlight up to 25 feet into the building – that is, if there are no obstructions such as walls or partitions within that 25-foot radius. Not everyone can have the corner office. Many buildings attempt to solve the problem with windows, skylights and glazing walls. However, these solutions still create glare, dark spots and shadowy corners with no natural light. Fabric buildings are different – they have natural light coming in through every inch of the walls and ceiling.
The practice of using the sun’s light to illuminate a building is called “daylighting” or “daylight harvesting.” Fabric buildings are best at daylighting, due to the translucent fabric cladding that transmits diffuse, glare-free natural light. Workers and animals inside a fabric building get the benefits of natural light throughout the day, and the building owner saves money that would otherwise be spent on artificial lights.
One reason workers who have access to sunlight are happier and more productive is because their circadian rhythms – the 24-hour-cycle that naturally regulates sleep and wake times – is not interrupted. This benefit also extends to animals housed in fabric buildings – including fabric barns and fabric riding arenas. Cold fluorescent lighting and other office-lighting systems can’t match the steady, full-spectrum light from the sun. Natural sunlight also reduces eye strain and headaches, making workers happier and more productive. Exposure to natural sunlight in a fabric building can also lower the risk of seasonal affective disorder and other illnesses.
Although employee health has many variables, providing a workplace that is focused on employee health has benefits for the employer as well. Healthy, happy employees are less likely to call in sick, and they may stay longer at the company. For the happiest, healthiest employees, consider a fabric building. Every area in the workplace will be naturally bright, and the workers will appreciate their employers’ attention to their health and well-being.