Employees might like snacks, treadmill desks, and office dogs — but there's a perk they like much more

  • Natural light is an in-demand workplace perk according to a recent study from Future Workplace.
  • Harvard Business Review reported on the findings, which saw "access to natural light" beat out more conventional perks like on-site cafeterias and gyms.
  • Exposure to natural light has been linked to health benefits — and it may boost productivity.


Let there be natural light.

That's what US-based works are clamoring for, according to the Harvard Business Review. Writing for HBR, Jeanne C. Meister reported that Future Workplace's survey of 1,614 North American employees found that "access to natural light and views of the outdoors" was the most popular perk of all.

To give this some perspective, access to natural light beat out aspirational perks, like cafeterias, gyms, and on-site childcare.

But it's not a shocking upset, when you consider the scientifically-backed, mood-enhancing benefits of natural light.

According to North Carolina State's Sustainability website, natural light can protect your vision, super-charge your vitamin D storage, boost your mood, and even render you more productive.

A 2003 study of Sacramento Municipal Utility District employees indicated that employees who had a good view out a window performed better and accomplished tasks faster than their counterparts with worse views.

And anyone who's spent a whole day in a workspace with only a harsh, flickering ceiling light for company can attest to the superiority of natural light.

But despite these potential benefits and employee demand, access to natural light isn't yet widespread in US workplaces.

The Harvard Business Review reported that, in Future Workplace's study, a third of respondents reported they "don't get enough natural light in their workspace," leading to exhaustion and glumness.

Still, the message from employees is clear: people want to see the light.

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