Windowless Offices: Bad for the Health

November 7, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. detrimental /ˈdɛ trə məntl/ (adj.) – causing harm or damage
Example: Working without enough sleep can be detrimental to the quality of work.

2. thereof /ˌðɛərˈʌv, -ˈɒv/ (adv.) – of that already mentioned
Example: Proper hygiene, a good diet, and such physical tending thereof are necessary to avoid getting sick.

3. enclosed /ɛnˈkloʊzd/ (adj.) – referring to something completely confined by walls
Example: The patient needed to be enclosed in his own room to avoid spreading his sickness.

4. vitality /vaɪˈtæl ɪ ti/ (n.) – the state of being physically active or energetic
Example: They did not include her in outdoor projects because she lacked vitality.

5. insufficient /ˌɪn səˈfɪʃ ənt/ (adj.) – not being enough for what is needed
Example: Five cubicles are insufficient for ten employees.


Read the text below.
Working in a windowless office is detrimental to a person’s physical health and quality of sleep, a study claims.   

Conducted by medical and architectural experts, the study focuses on the influence of natural light—or lack thereof—on the health of office workers. Head author and architect specialist Mohamed Boubekri [muh-ha-MAHD boh-bek-kree] considers the office as the best place to assess public health, as it is where most people generally spend most of their day.

The researchers observed 49 employees, 27 of whom work in offices with windows while the other 22 work in enclosed workplaces. The study made use of actigraphy [ak-TIG-RUH-FEE] and health surveys to collect data on the sleeping habits and physical energy of the participants.

Results show that workers in windowless offices are more physically healthy than those in enclosed offices. The deciding factor of these findings is daylight exposure. On the other hand, the windowless group is found to have poor vitality and an average of only 6.5 sleeping hours because they receive little to no natural light in the workplace. The window group, on the other hand, show more physical energy and sleep 46 minutes longer as their offices allow regular exposure to daylight.

The researchers further stated that insufficient daylight exposure disrupts the body’s circadian rhythm [sur-KEY-dee-uh n, -KAD-ee-, sur-kuh-DEE-uh n   RITH -uh m], often leading to sleeping problems.

Through their findings, the researchers call for more attention to the important role of daylight exposure in public health. Furthermore, they encourage architects and designers to be more open to the idea of building offices and workplaces with more windows, ensuring that office workers have adequate exposure to natural light.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Would you prefer to work in a windowless office? Why or why not?
·         How else can lack of sleep affect an employee’s performance at work?

Discussion B

·         What do you think are the other factors in the office that cause lack of sleep?
·         How can an employee be physically active even when working in the office? 

November 7, 2014