By definition, ergonomics is the understanding of the interactions between humans and other elements of a system. Therefore, workplace ergonomics is the study of people’s efficiency in the workplace. Many factors impact ergonomics in the workplace, including the design and arrangement of items such as desks, computers, and other objects typically found in a work environment. The end goal of workplace ergonomics is to create a work environment that’s efficient and safe for employees, leading to optimal productivity across the whole system.
The Importance of Workplace Ergonomics
Workplace ergonomics seeks to optimize the interaction between a worker and their workspace. Not only will employees feel comfortable and productive when a workplace is ergonomically friendly, but numerous other benefits can be achieved. Lower costs, higher productivity, improved engagement among employees, and increased safety can be achieved through an ergonomically friendly work environment.
Windows & Workplace Ergonomics: A Double-Edged Sword
Aside from more obvious factors such as a comfortable keyboard, a well-designed chair, and a functional desk, another aspect that impacts productivity is the environment itself — including the lighting of the workplace. Many employees spend their days sitting indoors with their eyes locked on a computer screen from 9-5, while fluorescent lights flicker overhead. This kind of environment can take a toll on employees, not only in terms of productivity but also their health and well-being.
How Windows Can Help the Workplace
Natural light in the workplace is highly sought after and plays a huge role in office ergonomics. According to the Harvard Business Review, when it comes to employee experience, the most desired attribute of the workplace environment is access to natural light and views of the outdoors. Additionally, this study discovered that a lack of natural lighting and outdoor views actually harms the overall employee experience. Research done by Dr. Alan Hedge at Cornell University found that workers in a naturally-lit office environment reported a 51% drop in eyestrain, a 63% drop in headaches, and a 56% reduction in drowsiness. This suggests a strong connection between employee well-being and natural lightning in office spaces.
How Windows Can Harm the Workplace
While a desk with a view and an office full of natural light is desired by employees, people often fail to consider the negative aspects of windows, such as bothersome glare, uncomfortable temperatures, and damage from ultraviolet, or UV, rays. As employees sit at their desks working on their computers, and the afternoon or morning sun begins to creep in, it can cast a glare across their screens. This not only hinders their ability to view the screen with ease, but it also causes eye strain and discomfort.
In addition to welcoming bothersome glare, windows can also create uncomfortable temperatures. During a hot summer day, solar radiation passing through office windows can lead to hot spots and sweltering interior temperatures, driving up cooling costs. On a cold winter day, a window may ineffectively insulate the heat produced inside by the building’s HVAC system, also resulting in poor energy efficiency. While the workplace environment should remain at the temperature to which the thermostat is set, windows can lead to inconsistent and at times uncomfortable indoor temperatures inside your space.
Another often overlooked issue of windows is the damage caused by UV rays. It may come as a surprise that UV rays can still harm you even when you’re indoors. Windows welcome the sun’s rays, but with that comes UV exposure. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, more than 50% of UV rays can penetrate a standard windowpane, hitting your skin and causing premature aging and damage.
Now, it seems as if you’re in a deadlock. Do windows improve employee experience and workplace ergonomics, or are they secretly diminishing them? Luckily, there is a solution that can provide you with the best of both worlds: window film.
End the Stalemate with 3M Window Film
You shouldn’t have to make the decision as to whether or not the pros of windows outweigh the cons. With window film by 3M, you can welcome the sun’s light into your space without the negative side effects. 3M window film mitigates glare and rejects the sun’s heat, leading to a more comfortable work environment. Not to mention, due to its heat-rejecting properties, employees can experience comfortable temperatures no matter the season. This increases the happiness of your employees, while also decreasing energy bills. Another notable benefit of window film is the level of protection it provides against UV rays. In fact, window film can reject up to 99% of damaging UV rays! By installing window film, you can achieve a naturally-lit space, a more comfortable environment, and happier, more productive employees.
Workplace ergonomics is becoming an increasingly important and prevalent topic of discussion. Therefore, these factors need to be taken into consideration when it comes to your space. Knowing that natural lighting is so important to employees’ health and success, investing in window film is a choice that will provide benefits for years down the road. For happier employees and a more productive workplace environment, consider window film.
Energy Products Distribution (EPD) offers a tremendous breadth of 3M window film products and architectural finishes to address a variety of challenges encountered by property managers, architects, and designers. From heat mitigation or enhanced energy efficiency to improved protection or elevated aesthetics, EPD provides a product to meet your needs and delight your clients. Contact us at 410-844-7993 to learn more about how window film and architectural finishes can add value to your projects.