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Study: Working in a Windowless Cube is Ruining Your Life

Next time you reserve your desk, pick one near a window.

Good morning and happy Monday, folks!

It appears to be a slow day for good accounting news this morning, so let's instead take a look at a recent study that found working in a windowless office has dangerous implications for those of you unlucky enough to spend your waking hours under fluorescent light. I'm sure this is exactly what you want to read as you head into yet another week of whatever soul-sucking billable work you have ahead.

We already know lack of sunlight is bad for you. But now we know lack of a view is also bad for you:

The study compared the self-reported sleep patterns of 49 day shift employees, 27 of them working in windowed offices and 22 in windowless environments (or so far away from windows that they could see neither sunlight nor views of the outside world). On a subjective sleep-quality questionnaire, the window workers scored better. They also rated better on a standard health survey in two categories, including “vitality.”

To go beyond self-reported assessments, 21 participants (10 windowless workers and 11 windowed ones) wore a wristband that measured activity during sleep and waking hours. That monitoring revealed that workers with windows slept 46 minutes longer each night during the workweek than their windowless counterparts and were four times as active during the workday. Exposure to daylight is an environmental cue for the circadian clock, the body’s natural rhythm over a 24-hour period. Depriving workers of  light seems to disrupt behavioral patterns such as sleep and activity.

Lack of sleep can lead to all kinds of nasty things: mistakes, lower stress threshold, trouble concentrating and even decreased optimism. For those of you barely hanging on to that last shred of hope, that's bad news.

So, when you're picking your hoteling spot for the day, try to find an open desk near a window. Barring that, make sure to go outside and play as often as possible.


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