You spend a significant portion of your day working, approximately 1/3rd or more in fact. If you’re going to be spending that length of time working, optimizing productivity and comfort are 2 important considerations when choosing a location. With that in mind, is it better to work by a window? Let’s find out!
Is it better to work by a window?
Working by a window will suit some people better than others. There is no one answer fits all. It’s been proven that working beside a window will increase your level of exposure to daylight which can increase your mood and energy levels. However, sitting beside a window can also be distracting, especially if there are frequent traffic or people passing by your window. First floor window seats tend to be more distracting as there is more to see and hear in comparison to a window a few levels up. Your distance from the window and the direction you are facing in respect of the window will also be influential in dictating how distracted you are. Ultimately, this might not pose an issue at all if you are not easily distracted or it’s a quiet area.
Working next to a window entails many considerations. Will you be distracted facing the window or suffer from draughts? Could a window seat make you more productive? If you’re working for over 8 hours a day, your desk location should provide optimal working conditions. Read on to discover where studies suggest is the best place to sit.
Productivity levels are related to the environmental conditions that a worker is in. Key components include natural light and unobstructed views of the outdoors. Source
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Do windows increase productivity?
Having windows in an office increases productivity indirectly as it increases the comfort of the worker.
A study has found that improving natural lighting and exposure to outdoor views increased the productivity of workers by 2%.
This could equate to an extra $100,000 per year of value for every 100 workers.
Therefore, working near a window with a view will pay itself off year-on-year. This is particularly valuable if you are a self-employed person working from home!
Plus, if you are wondering if you should study near a window, the answer is most likely yes!
This same study found that working in a room with a window:
- Decreases eyestrain by 51%
- Made 56% of workers feet less drowsy
- Results in fewer headaches (by 63% of workers in study)
- Improves your quality of sleep
- Increases the length you sleep by 46 minutes (compared to workers in windowless office)
Therefore, workers who are more comfortable are more likely to work more productively.
They are also less likely to require as many breaks as those who experience eyestrain and need a rest from their screen.
We all know that if you sleep better, you’re more capable and efficient at performing your work.
You’re also less prone to waste time crawling to the coffee dock every other minute for another caffeine hit!
Where should you sit in an office with a window?
Workers claimed that they preferred a seat that was facing the room which had a minimal number of desks in their view. These seats made these individuals feel more productive, focused and bonded to the team.
- Workers with a higher number of desks in their vision felt more distracted.
- Sitting at a window seat made workers feel more productive than at a wall seat.
- Staff who were facing away from the room and had few colleagues in their view felt that their productivity was lower. They also possibly felt that they had less control of the environment.
- These workers suggested that having workers in their view was a source of distraction.
The results from this study are according to one survey of 172 office workers in an open-plan based in a large technology company.
Tip: If you are working in an area where there is no or little natural lighting, take regular outdoor breaks to increase your exposure to natural light.
Is it better to work in an office with a window?
Working in an office with a window tends to be more preferable in terms of comfort and connection to the environment.
Additionally, a window seat has been shown to increase productivity!
Windows offer easier access to natural lighting and ventilation.
Lack of daylight and limited or no access to outdoor views reduces the ability of your eyes to relax. This in turn makes it more difficult for your eyes to recover from fatigue.
This is only a handful of the side-effects of working in a windowless office!
I have mentioned previously how I completed visual display unit (VDU) assessments for workers in offices with no windows. These workers disliked these windowless offices, and they were always the last offices to be occupied.
The windowless offices were the least comfortable as they offered poor lighting and ventilation.
By controlling the amount of light that enters an office or room, a company or person working from home can optimize the lighting levels.
Consequently, you can perform your work or study more comfortably for longer.
Controlling lighting levels can be achieved with the use of smart windows and blinds.
Click here to find out what direction your room should face for the most heat.
Tip: Light therapy lamps can reduce the effects of SAD or winter blues as they artificially increase the amount of light that you are exposed to.
We know for sure that working in an office with a window tends to be more preferable and helps to improve the ventilation and natural lighting of a room.
Furthermore, sitting in a room with natural light and an outdoor view also has been shown to improve your productivity and the company earnings.
Now there’s even evidence to validate this theory!
Working next to a window without facing too many workers was identified by staff in one study as the optimal location for working with minimal distraction.
Would you agree with this? Where is your favorite position to sit in an office or open-plan? I’d love to hear your feedback and any queries that you may have!
Please leave them in the comments box below and I’ll be sure to get back to you!