In today’s ‘always-on’ world and as the dust continues to settle from the pandemic, workers are experiencing higher levels of stress, anxiety and burnout than ever before. According to a study conducted by The Standard, more than half of respondents (55%) say that a mental health issue has affected them more since the pandemic began. Employees also indicate that they expect their employers to do more to support their wellbeing. In short: The events of the past 18 months have elevated workplace wellbeing from a nice-to-have employee benefit to a critical business priority.
Organizations with a strong culture of employee wellbeing can really make an impact, not only on their people but also to their business. This focus can help retain and attract talent as well as maximize productivity. Good health and well-being is closely linked with greater workplace performance, and a more satisfied workforce tends to yield a similar sentiment amongst customers.
This said, it’s never been a better time for businesses to reimagine their workspaces in support of employee wellbeing. The right indoor lighting plays a fundamental role in this.
The Power of Biophilic Design
Founded in the idea that our bodies are made to live in sync with nature, biophilic design integrates elements of nature and natural analogues within interior spaces. It’s meant to reconnect us with the outside world and stimulate an emotional and biological response, such as an energy boost or a relaxed mindset.
In the book, Chief Wellbeing Officer, authors Rory Simpson and Steven P. MacGregor indicate that workers in offices with natural elements, like plants and sunlight, report a 15% higher level of wellbeing and creativity and a 6% higher level of productivity. Similarly, it has been shown that biophilic environments reduce stress and anxiety, improve cognitive function and creativity, and support greater overall health and wellbeing.
One of the most powerful applications of biophilic design is in lighting. After all, natural light delivers a myriad of benefits such as sustaining a consistent wake-sleep cycle, also known as your circadian rhythm. Solutions like NatureConnect from Signify are designed to bring those benefits of natural light indoors into offices.
Through a combination of LED luminaires and controls, the technology mimics daylight patterns, recreates a view of the sky as well as immerses employees in the colors and dynamics of nature. It also allows users to select natural lighting scenes and tailor their environment according to their activity or need. For example, you could set a cooler, bluish toned light to help stimulate an energy boost or a warmer, amber toned light to relax and clear your mind.
Van Rennes and Skanksa are two companies that have realized that the quality of their office spaces and lighting influences employee comfort, wellbeing and effectiveness. Staff have responded positively to the experience of bringing natural light indoors. At Van Rennes, more than 4 out of 5 employees (83%) strongly agree that their environment looks more attractive and is more pleasant.
A New Era of Workplace Wellbeing
It’s never been a more important time to transition functional workspaces into dynamic office environments designed around occupant comfort and wellbeing. After all, your employees are the backbone of your business. The cost of poor workplace wellbeing can cause companies to incur $20 million of additional lost opportunity for every 10,000 workers due to struggling or suffering employees, according to Gallup. And the evidence is undeniable: research from the University of Twente and CBRE Healthy Offices further confirms the relationship between indoor lighting that follows the daily rhythm of the sun and employees’ moods, well-being and ability to perform.
The technology is there. It’s now up to companies to invest in their most important asset – their employees – and create a comfortable, inspiring atmosphere that puts their wellbeing first. Those that do can seize the upside potential it offers for their business.