Maximising your natural daylight through space planning and office design

We are often asked how can we help to make offices a little less cold and sterile, and a great way to do this is to maximise your natural daylight resources. The colour, feeling and effects of natural daylight just can’t be replicated by artificial light, and yet so many offices have poor layouts that block daylight within the office. A key principal here is to ensure that windows are not blocked by storage cabinets; the simplest way to do this is by putting all storage cabinets against partition walls. Most offices though have more storage cabinets than wall space, so the best way to ensure that natural daylight is maximised is to only ever have cabinets lined up perpendicular (at 90 degrees) to any windows. This may seem obvious, but so many offices have a row of tall cabinets running through the centre of the office space, and so these are actually parallel to the windows. What this then means is that one half of the office gets good natural daylight in the morning, but very poor in the afternoon and the other side vice versa. Through keeping the cabinets at 90 degrees some light is obscured, but you avoid the dark and light extremes. Of course investing in better storage solutions would help further, particularly a system such as a rolling stack (as discussed in earlier blog posts), as this would allow you to keep your storage in one area and so keep the open areas open.

As well as re-organising your storage, you should also look at the positioning of desks. A common mistake is to put a single manager’s desk (which is often unoccupied) next to the windows, with the bulk of the staff deeper in to the office floor plate away from the natural light. By ensuring that the natural light resource is maximised to as many workstations as possible, the overall feeling of the space for the staff will be improved. There are occasions, such as with a very large floor plate, when this can’t be done, and so here you may need to look as specialised lighting solutions, such as daylight simulation bulbs for individual desk lamps, and using as many transparent or translucent materials as possible around the office, such as frosted glass screens on desks rather than heavy fabric ones.

If you would like us to redesign your office to maximise your natural daylight resources, give us a call.