Paid vacation and health benefits have long been coveted job perks, but perhaps windows also belong on that list, according to a new research study.
Workers in offices with windows get more and better sleep at night, are more physically active and have a higher quality of life than those in windowless offices, according to findings recently presented during the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies.
The study included 49 day-shift office employees, 22 in workplaces with windows and 27 in windowless workplaces. Those in offices with windows received 173 percent more white light exposure during work hours and slept an average of 46 minutes more a night than those in windowless offices.
Employees in offices with windows also tended to be more physically active, had better sleep quality and efficiency, fewer sleep disturbances, less daytime sleepiness, and higher quality-of-life scores.
“The extent to which daylight exposure impacts office workers is remarkable,” study co-author Ivy Cheung, a doctoral candidate in the interdepartmental neuroscience program at Northwestern University in Chicago, said in an American Academy of Sleep Medicine news release.
The architectural design of offices should take into consideration how natural daylight exposure may contribute to employees’ well-being, the researchers said.
“Although the study found an association between worker well-being and windowed workplaces, it didn’t establish a cause-and-effect relationship. Also, data and conclusions presented at meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.