Looking to add perks to your work place to keep your employees happy? Instead of adding a fitness center, online cafeteria, or ping-pong tables, consider natural light.

Access to natural daylight and a view of the outdoors are the number one office perk employees want. That’s according to a survey completed late last year by HR advisory and research firm Future Workplace.

Daylighting and views through to the outdoors are both important to employee health and well-being.

The Center for Building Performance and Diagnostics at Carnegie Mellon University looked at the impact of daylighting on productivity and recorded 40% gains. Access to window views to the outside also gives workers a connection to nature which has also been found to have an impact on mood, satisfaction, and performance. A 2003 study showed the mood of daytime workers was significantly better than nighttime workers in the same office with windows.

Despite all the positives of natural daylighting, it can create issues that need to be addressed. Here are four ways to provide the perks of daylighting and outside views while mitigating glare and solar heat gain:

Choose the right fabric.
Openness factor and fabric color are two keys to striking a balance between allowing natural daylight into a space and mitigating glare and heat gain. A 1% open fabric will reflect sunlight and restrict views to the outside more than a 10% open fabric, for instance. Fabric color also has an impact. Darker mesh fabrics have better view-through but allow more solar heat gain.

Duplex fabrics offer a lighter outside color to better reflect light, while also having a darker interior color to allow better view-through from the inside.

In addition to color and openness, the type of weave has an impact. A traditional basket weave is best for allowing view-through and a connection with the outside. Twill weaves and textured fabrics restrict view-through and block more natural light.

To learn more about how fabric attributes impact daylighting, view through and connection with the outside, click here.

Turn the shade upside-down.
The Bottom-Up FlexShade® window shade rises from a roller at the bottom of the window sill utilizing natural daylighting to its fullest extent. It harvests daylight by blocking the sun’s rays at the bottom of the window while sunlight passes comfortably above people and objects adjacent to the window. It protects work surfaces near windows from harsh glare and excess heat.

For more information click here to go to our Bottom-Up FlexShade page.

Take an automated approach.
Automated shades maximize glare control. As the sun moves across the sky, shades can move automatically to uniform, preset degrees of closure. These intermediate, preset stopping locations provide the owner with control over heat build-up during the day. They can be controlled locally by a wall switch or from a central location, such as the building manager’s office. Shade operation can also be programmed to occur automatically at predetermined times based on the angle of the sun. This type of system controls heat gain while permitting a degree of natural light that doesn’t create glare on desks, computer screens, and other work surfaces.

For more information on how Draper provides an elegant, simple, and scalable automation system, click here.

Reflect light further into the room.
The FlexWave Light Shelf balances daylight and artificial light. This horizontal shelf is placed above eye-level to reflect light onto the ceiling through a special wave design. The distribution of light reduces light spots, thus allowing a deeper penetration of glare-free natural light into the space.

While light shelves divert natural light further into the building, the window opening below still allows view through to the outside.

Click here for more information on the FlexWave. To read more about the Future Workplace survey, click here for an article from the Harvard Business Review.

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