Sunshine: The Color of Productivity

If you're like me, your mood and motivation are elevated by sunshine.

The warm spectrum of light that filters through my office windows is essential to helping me keep focused and energized while I work. Morning sunlight turns off the body's nighttime production of melatonin and increases serotonin. That “get up and go” feeling from the sun initiates your circadian rhythms and keeps you awake during the day. So, I pay attention to my daily sunlight intake and when weather or location does not cooperate with my need for an energy boost, I substitute color to provide the benefits. Here are some simple things you can do to harness the power of sunlight for your workday;

Take Advantage Of Your Commute To Maximize The Solar Effect

You can't always be out-of- doors enjoying the sun when you might like, but you can find ways to stimulate your body's upbeat response to natural light during your commute. Working, eating and sleeping are better when you get out in the sunshine for fifteen minutes each day. Sometimes it is just a matter of taking off your sunglasses while you walk or exposing a small area of skin while you wait for the train.

Locate Near The Source

Your office space may seem perfectly suited to your work requirements, but disrupted sleep patterns and low productivity may be telling you otherwise. Windows and site orientation determine when and where sunlight will grace your office. If you can, choose the location of your workspace by its window light. For example; If your energy lags in the afternoon (and you live in the northern hemisphere) that means you require a south/west facing exposure. Filtered sunlight from window - glass provides light and warmth that suggests the stimulating properties of sunshine, and therefore many of it's benefits. When focus is mandatory and your workspace does not offer natural light, pickup and move to a work area that does.

Create The Illusion To What You Crave

Office window light is energizing, but the wrong interior color for walls and trim can work against a sunny outlook and focus. I once received a call for help from a business manager of a large Boston financial firm with a nautical name. Unfortunately for their employees, the interior designer had decided that the entire office would be painted blue to go with the theme of the corporate title. Even the carpet was blue which also, sadly, was the overall mood of the staff. “We're miserable and need your help”, was the plea from the woman responsible for morale. After an on-site review of the light conditions, the solution was easy. Shaded Low-E windows brought plenty of light into the office, but the blue gray of the walls and carpet further dampened the sunshine from the source. Just changing the walls and trim to an off-white with red/yellow undertones did the trick. Red, known for it's ability the raise a person's blood pressure and mood, was the tint I chose to replicate the warmth of sunshine that had been denied by the screened windows and the inability of the blue gray walls to bounce and amplify the light of the sun. That simple change prompted a follow- up call which began, “We are so happy here!” When happiness is up, so is productivity – and the bottom line.

Color Can Substitute For The Real Thing

When natural light is not available, hang large images of sunny landscapes or abstract paintings of primary colors near your desk. Water views of tropical teal conjure memories of vacation and fun. Saturated color will convince you that sunlight is present, even though it is not. Using a full spectrum daylight desk lamp will trigger your brains' response to light, leading you to believe that you are bathed in sunshine whenever you choose. Not only will your paperwork be illuminated by a full color light source, those workers who are particularly sensitive to sunlight deficiency will perk-up, be happy and productive.