On average, people spend about 90,000 hours of their life in the workplace. With this fact in mind, creating a workplace that keeps the health and well-being of employees at the forefront is a no-brainer. Not only should employees be able to come to work in a positive atmosphere, but they should also know that they aren’t putting their health at risk each time they enter the workplace.
Installing glass walls and partitions in an office setting can have an incredible number of benefits on the well-being of those who spend nearly half of their life there.
Health Benefits of Installing Glass Walls and Partitions
The benefits of incorporating glass walls in an office design can increase morale, raise productivity, reduce rates of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), increase aesthetic appeal, and improve sleep quality amongst employees.
Not only will these benefits help employees enjoy their workdays more they will also have lasting effects that transfer to employees’ personal lives, making them even better at their jobs and creating a cycle of well-being that will enhance the overall atmosphere of the office.
1. Increase morale
Creating an office design that incorporates glass wall partitions can have a positive effect on increasing employee morale for a variety of reasons. For one, the natural light that is allowed to flow through the office increases levels of vitamin D, giving employees a natural energy boost.
Additionally, views of the outside, whether of the city skyline, trees, neighboring buildings, or just seeing the bustling streets can improve morale. In a Future Workplace survey of over 1600 North American employees, 73% of those surveyed said that the longer they use technology to get their work done, “the more they desire a visual break such as taking a walk or looking through unobstructed windows to an outside view.” Providing these views is a way to increase employee morale and take advantage of the health benefits of glass walls.
In another study, it was concluded “access to daylight can increase job satisfaction and outdoor views can reduce job stress.” A higher level of job satisfaction and reduced job stress are two more health benefits of glass walls, both of which contribute to increased employee morale. Offices that offer views of daylight and nature have the effect of making “workers less frustrated, more patient, more productive, and physically healthier” than offices that restrict those views through the use of traditional walls.
2. Lower rates of Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a condition that affects between 4 and 6 percent of the population during the winter months each year, which equates to 10 million Americans. It is thought to be caused by lack of exposure to sunlight, and those working in poorly lit offices are especially susceptible.
Those suffering from SAD experience depression symptoms, including “less energy, trouble concentrating, fatigue, greater appetite, increased desire to be alone, greater need for sleep, [and] weight gain.” The effects of SAD can be mitigated throughout the winter months by creating environments where employees have access to natural light. Glass wall partition systems allow light from exterior windows to flow into interior office spaces. Traditional walls block light, meaning that the benefits of sunlight would be limited only to those who have offices with windows.
3. Inspire creativity
Incorporating glass walls and partitions not only has the practical applications of increasing happiness and productivity, improving sleep quality, and increasing employee morale, it also increases the aesthetic appeal of the office which, in turn, creates an environment conducive to creativity and imagination.
Glass walls create a modern look that instantly ups the aesthetic appeal of the office, creating an enjoyable atmosphere for employees and clients alike. Aesthetically pleasing environments not only increase employee happiness, but they can inspire creativity and innovative thinking. Happy and healthy employees do better work and lead better lives in general.
4. Improve sleep quality
Sleep quality can be improved by increasing the amount of exposure a person has to natural light throughout the day. One study stated that employees who work in an environment with higher exposure to natural light experienced sleep that was longer and of better quality than their counterparts in offices with lower exposure to natural light.
By incorporating the health benefits of glass walls into an office environment, it has a positive effect on employees long after they’ve left the office.
5. Raise productivity
Where people are happier, they are more productive, 12% more productive, in fact. Since natural light is the number one thing that office workers desire, it stands to reason that an office that includes natural light will make employees happier.
Another health benefit of glass walls is noise reduction in the workplace. Lack of sound privacy can lead to incredible feelings of discontent among employees and is ranked as the biggest drain on employee morale. Constant noise in an office can disrupt an employee’s ability to focus as well as their creative energies, leading to lower rates of productivity. Glass walls and partitions create a sound barrier that provides acoustic reduction without sacrificing the aesthetics of the office design. Reducing noise and leading to greater rates of productivity, is yet another benefit
Designing for health
More and more often, workplaces are putting a strong focus on employee well-being, knowing that the happier and healthier their employees are, the more productive, creative, and engaged they will be, creating more revenue and better products and services.
According to Mohamed Boubekri, an associate professor of architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, “architects need to be aware of the importance of natural light not only in terms of their potential energy savings but also in terms of affecting occupants’ health.” Taking advantage of the health benefits of glass walls can create an office in which employees are happy to work each day and can reap the benefits in their lives outside of work as well.