How Light Domes and Roof Lights Fit into The Modern Working Environment
Over recent years the importance of natural light and its positive impact on productivity, working conditions and overall morale has been recognised, meaning companies are being increasingly pushed towards providing welcoming office spaces and working environments.
As roof lights and light domes provide solutions both as integrated design features, added at the initial planning stages of new office developments and as retrofit options for existing buildings, they have numerous benefits in the commercial work space.
Here, we’re looking at some of the key benefits of adding roof lights and light domes to offices, industrial spaces and retail units given the changing preferences of the modern working environment.
Attracting Better (and Happier) Staff
As the ‘gig economy’ takes hold, the days of a ‘job for life’ are becoming rare, meaning workers are inclined to jump from job to job. In employment terms, this creates an emphasis on providing employee benefits to attract the best quality.
Going against common perception, the majority of employees value natural light as the most fundamental ‘office perk’, eclipsing trendier offerings such as games rooms, breakout areas and office pets.
The Harvard Business Review reports that in a recent poll, 78% of employees said natural light helped improve morale and work efficiency, with the review adding; ‘The notion that the creation of the workplace environment is solely a real estate concern is an outdated concept. Today, employers recognize that the workplace environment is now part of the overall employee experience equation and a key lever to attract, engage, and retain top talent.’
Overhauling Dated Design
In an ideal world, natural lighting would be incorporated into modern commercial spaces at the design stage, assessing each plot individually to maximise daylight during working hours. This isn’t always possible however; in some cases, due to planning restrictions, environmental issues or simply through cost.
Roof light domes and polycarbonate roof lights (or glass, depending upon requirements) can add natural lighting to an otherwise inaccessible space, particularly in older buildings where initial poor design has caused ‘black spots’, such as office blocks and industrial spaces.
If your business is currently housed in an older building (80’s designed buildings being a stand out offender) adding light domes can be one of the most cost effective and time efficient methods of improving overall natural light and the workspace. Industrial rooflights also work well in warehousing spaces where, due to dated design, buildings are often incredibly dark.
Even at the design stage, office space can make effective use of roof lighting and domes, especially as the working trend shifts towards collaborative workspaces, meaning larger office floors, thus, increasing the distance from windows in some cases.
Reducing Carbon Footprint (and Providing PR Opportunities)
By no means a new concept, companies globally are aiming to improve their reputation through CSR, of which, reducing carbon footprint plays a major role. Pioneering companies such as Bloomberg are using new development projects to lead the way in low carbon workspaces, not only good for the environment and employees, but also providing PR opportunities for the most forward thinking within each market.
Obviously, this isn’t an option for all companies, however, there is scope for all to reduce their environmental impact by replacing artificial light with natural, using roof lights and light domes. Material improvements means a delivery of light, coupled with efficient thermal performance.
With an increasing number of accreditations, awards and incentives available, businesses, whether developing work space from new, or inhabiting existing buildings should consider a reduction in carbon footprint.
A Safer Workspace
Commercial properties have a legal requirement to provide clear, smoke free escape routes and unimpeded escape for occupants during an emergency. In areas where smoke ventilation is required as part of the fire strategy, particularly in areas of public access; such as stair wells and corridors, Automatic Opening Vents, which double as rooflights should be considered.
Modern units can be supplied complete with concealed motors and wiring, in glass or thermoplastic, providing an aesthetic solution as well as all the benefits of natural light.
In economic terms, an AOV can significantly reduce smoke damage to any building, reducing premiums and minimising repair costs following a fire.
If you’re interested in finding out more about your requirements as an employer regarding AOV’s, we have a great resource: ‘What Are AOV’s & Do I Need One for My Business’ which explains everything you need to know.
Are the Benefits Worth It?
Overall, roof lights and light domes, whilst often overlooked, can bring benefits to the modern working environment, whether built into design early on, or as an ad-hoc solution for existing problematic buildings that are extremely valuable to businesses.
In particular, as preferences of workers change, it is imperative that businesses use all assets available to them to differentiate from competitors in the market (other employers), so, although the link is far from obvious, adding natural light in the form of roof lighting, along with other peripheral additions, can be vital to modern businesses, helping increase the overall quality of output across the board.
Adding AOV’s should also be considered as an integral part of any business work space with preventative benefits far outweighing installation and cost.
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