What makes you happy to get up and go to work each day? According to the Question & Retain (Q&R) Happiness in the Workplace Pulse Check, 40% of us say the most important factor that makes us happy at work is feeling valued and supported; 19% of us get out of bed for the intellectual challenge work provides; and for 12% of us  happiness is derived from pay and benefits.

However, it’s not just about the people, the job and the money; the data amassed by Leesman, the world’s largest independent assessor of workplace effectiveness, suggests that the physical work environment also plays a large role in boosting overall employee satisfaction levels. Having surveyed 250,000 employees worldwide, 85.1% state that the design of the workplace is important; yet only 56.7% of people feel the design of their workplace enables them to work productively.

A key workplace failure is the inappropriate provision of natural light. Of the quarter of a million employees in 69 countries surveyed by Leesman’s workplace benchmarking tool, 75.8% state that natural light is important to them, yet just over half are satisfied with the offering in their workplace. Meanwhile, research over the past few years from the International WELL Building Institute, Human Spaces and the World Green Building Council have all demonstrated the importance of natural light in employee engagement and productivity. And, Dodge Data and Analytics Smart Market Report found that “daylighting is currently the top strategy for improving occupant health.

How Can We Create a Happier Workplace?

When working in the confines of an office, an element of daylight is essential for employee well-being, engagement and productivity. A workplace infused with daylight and views to the outside can act as a buffer against the negative impact of job stress and positively impact general well-being. The research from Human Spaces, for example, demonstrated that proximity to natural elements, such as greenery and sunlight, was associated with a 15% increase in improved well-being and creativity, and 6% higher productivity.

Through building design, daylight can be maximized in a number of ways: building orientation, window design, configuration and glazing, strategic use of overhangs, and interior design and furnishings.  Nowadays, many companies place meeting rooms and cellular offices towards the middle of a building blueprint to allow natural light to flood the main office space where most people will be working.

What Other Benefits are Gained by More Daylight?

Substantial energy savings can be achieved when businesses reduce the use of artificial light and instead harness the power of natural full-spectrum daylight. Integrating daylighting technologies in concert with lighting sensors that adjust electric lighting as needed, can further reduce energy consumption by up to 40-60%–a substantial improvement to the bottom line.

Workplace well-being has taken center stage in the world of work. As awareness around well-being grows so, too, will the awareness around daylight and its role in improving employee satisfaction levels while reducing our carbon footprint.