The Benefits of Natural Light

If you want productive employees, you need healthy employees. You also need happy employees. Increasing the natural light in your office is one of the surest ways to improve wellness and boost energy levels. Next time you move into a brand-new office or update your workplace, ditch the light-obstructing cubicles and solid walls for high-quality glass partitions and sliding room dividers.

The Importance of a Healthy Workforce

Health is tied to performance, that much is clear. According to an official UK study carried out by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, subjective well-being can improve cognitive abilities and processes, inspire creative thinking, and stimulate problem-solving.

Employees that report better wellness scores also tend to have a more optimistic attitude toward work and a greater proclivity to collaborate with others.1 Finally, research suggests that the physical layout of the workplace can have a major impact on innovation levels.2 In other words, wellness has a positive impact on performance and attitude across the board. Perhaps that’s why 65% of CEOs have already implemented a health and wellness strategy.3

Those that don’t have a wellness strategy—or those who want to improve their existing policies—can start by taking a look at their office.

Don’t Underestimate the Power of a Redesign

One of the simplest but most successful strategies is to redesign the office space to make it more employee friendly. Once upon a time, that theory may have been just that—an untested theory. In recent years, study after study seems to confirm the hypothesis: The physical workspace has a major impact on the employee experience.

A poorly designed workspace won’t inspire the kind of enthusiasm that most employers want. Employees spend many of their waking hours at work, and the environment can have a remarkable impact on their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Who wants to spend the better part of their life in an unpleasant environment?

A well-designed office, on the other hand, can do the seemingly impossible: It can make employees want to come to work. It can also promote wellness, and even a small improvement in well-being scores can have a dramatic impact on performance and innovation.4

In spite of that, only 54% of employees say their design space allows them to work productively.3 Clearly, there’s room for improvement. How do business leaders solve the problem?

It’s simple: Let more light in.

Natural Light Is Key to a Healthier, More Productive Team

Many employers opt for natural light because of the energy savings, which can be significant, or because of the aesthetic advantages, which are indisputable. Just as important, however, are the health benefits.

Research has consistently shown that access to sunlight is critical to well-functioning bodies and minds. Employees who get plenty of natural light tend to sleep better, focus better, exercise better, and live better.

According to one study conducted by Northwestern Medicine and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, offices that featured windows provided 173 percent more white light than offices without windows. That’s probably why employees in those offices got on average 46 more minutes of sleep than their windowless counterparts, while also engaging in more physical activity.5

Why does natural light have such a major impact?

The Many Health Benefits of Natural Light

There’s a reason workers perform better under the stimulation of natural light. Sunlight is essential for a healthy body. It synchronizes our internal clocks, promotes vitamin production, and regulates hormones. Here are some ways natural light helps your body:

Establishes a Rhythm. For starters, the blue light emitted by the sun regulates the body’s circadian rhythm, also known as its sleep-wake cycle. When the sun goes down at night, our bodies know it’s time to start producing melatonin, the hormone that contributes to sleepiness. When the sun rises in the morning, they know it’s time to stop producing melatonin.6

Improves Sleep. It turns out those first few hours of morning sunlight are critical—more critical than we once believed. Exposure to sunlight in the morning sets your clock for your entire day and helps you sleep better at night. In fact, it may be one of the most important factors influencing the length and quality of your sleep.

Produces Vitamins. People have known for years that sunlight helps the body produce vitamin D, which is also crucial for anyone who wants to maintain optimal health. To begin with, vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, which promotes bone growth. It also gives the immune system a boost, which helps the body to fight off disease. Finally, vitamin D has been shown to help people maintain a healthy weight.

Alleviates Eye Strain. Anyone who has spent long hours in a windowless office, under the glare of fluorescent lights, knows that artificial light can be draining. Whether they notice it or not, such poor lighting can also cause eyestrain. Letting in plenty of natural light can relieve overtaxed eyes, and that can help improve focus.7

Helps the Autoimmune System. Exposure to the sun’s UV rays may help suppress an overactive immune system. If true, that could help mitigate some of the worst symptoms of autoimmune diseases or even protect against their onset.8

What Natural Light Does for Your Mood and Your Energy Levels

When employees lack motivation, energy levels go down and, when energy levels go down, productivity drops. Every year, companies spend untold amounts of money on HR initiatives and team building programs designed to fix the problem—and for good reason. Yet, there is one thing many employers are missing—superior office design.

A well-designed office, particularly a well-lit office, can work wonders for mood and energy. Simply installing a glass partition, rather than a fiberglass cubicle or a solid wall, can increase the amount of light that flows through the entire office, and that can send energy and productivity soaring.4 Here’s why:

Better Sleep Equals Better Focus. Getting adequate sunlight during the day helps us sleep better at night. Better sleep improves overall health, but it has a particularly significant impact on our brains. For one, sleep helps the brain repair itself, process memories, and consolidates learning. Poor sleep equals poor cognitive function. Good sleep equals better focus, higher energy, and more wellness. To put it simply, employees who sleep well when the sun goes down are employees who can work well when the sun comes up.

More Sun Equals Less Depression. Recent research suggests that daily doses of sunlight can help alleviate the symptoms of depression—at least, a cyclical form of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder. SAD tends to affect people during the winter months when the days are shorter. Simply allowing light to flow in through the office by using transparent office wall dividers can help employees keep the winter blues at bay.6

Of course, knowing that you need natural light is one thing. Knowing how to get it is another.


How to Increase the Natural Lighting in Your Office

There are many ways to increase the amount of sunlight that enters your workspace. The most obvious way is to find an office that has more windows and/or bigger windows. Unfortunately, for many businesses, that’s not an option. That would require moving to a new location or upgrading to premium real estate. For businesses on a tight budget, particularly small businesses or start-ups, the cost can be prohibitive.

Fortunately, there are easier, more innovative, and more cost-effective ways to solve the natural light problem:

  • Glass Office Partitions: Transparent, glass office partitions from Space Plus are perfect when you want to delineate separate areas but don’t want to block the natural light from flowing from one space to another.
  • Privacy Walls: These come in handy when you need to balance light with privacy. The frosted glass lets light into the room while remaining opaque enough to stop passersby from looking in.
  • Glass Office Divider Walls: Space Plus’s see-through office divider walls provide floor-to-ceiling coverage without obstructing the light. They’re perfect for separating conference rooms, executive offices, showrooms, and indoor stores.

Let the Light In with Space Plus Interior Glass Door Solutions

It’s called daylighting—when architects and office planners harness the power of sunlight for their interior lighting needs.9 If current research is any indication, it’s critical for maintaining a happy, healthy workplace, and that’s essential for maintaining a productive, creative workplace.

Want to learn more about the innovative ways you can improve your office design? Take an online tour of the Space Plus catalog or come visit one of our many showrooms around the country to see how you can let the light in and boost your team’s enthusiasm.


  1. UK Department for Business Innovation and Skills. “Does Worker Wellbeing Affect Workplace Performance?” <>
  2. “U.S. Workplace Survey 2016.” <>
  3. Leesman Review. Issue 15. 2014. Q3. <>
  4. Forbes Magazine. “How the Physical Workspace Impacts the Employee Experience.” <>
  5. Northwestern Now. “Natural Light in the Office Boosts Health.” <>
  6. “The Link Between Natural Light and Health.”
  7. NC State University: Sustainability. “Shining Light on What Natural Light Does for Your Body.” <>
  8. S. News and World Report. “Host of Health Benefits Attributed to Sunlight.” <>
  9. Architectural Lighting. “The Benefits of Natural Light.” <>

Tips and Tricks for Designing a Productive Workspace

It’s one of the greatest challenges facing employers: workspace design and productivity. It’s clear that one affects the other—studies have consistently proven that our environment has a significant impact on our ability to focus—but what is the best route to office space optimization?

Which arrangements contribute to a happy, healthy, productive workplace, and which detract from it? How do employers rearrange their office spaces to get the best out of their team? Here are some of the most common obstacles to productivity, and some creative solutions for solving with them.

The Physical Layout

The physical layout of your office should reflect your company culture. It should also be designed with productivity in mind. Depending on the nature of your business, that may require an emphasis on collaboration and communication or privacy and clear boundaries.

Unfortunately, there seems to be a perpetual tug-of-war between the need for community space and the desire for privacy, the value of openness and the importance of privacy. While closed-off spaces can sometimes create a sense of isolation, wide-open spaces tend to increase distractions (think frequent passersby and visual distractions). Balancing it all can give the most enthusiastic office planner a headache, but there is a way out.

The Solutions

  • Room Dividers: Open office plans became the rage for a while (and still are, in some places). Still, most employers recognize the age-old need to define space by sectioning off one area from another. That’s particularly true for conference rooms and executive offices, which benefit from being set apart.

Enter flexible room dividers. Ideal for mixed-use spaces and for maximizing small office space, they help employers combine open expanses and closed offices. Glass dividers are particularly versatile, giving employees their own personal, distraction-free space without sacrificing the sense of openness and airiness. In other words, room dividers are the only way to go when you want to cut down on foot traffic and noise pollution while maintaining a sense of community.

  • Office Partitions: Sometimes it’s best to separate space without dividing it completely. The good news is, we’ve come a long way since the days of the dreaded laminate cubicle. Modern partitions feature beautiful glass designs, sliding swinging doors, barn doors or solutions with no bottom tracks at all. Nowadays, you can use clever office partitions to design an office that’s as free-flowing as it is a functional efficient office space layout.
  • Privacy Walls: The ultimate solution for businesses that want to balance privacy with openness, privacy walls feature frosted or fully opaque glass that blocks prying eyes without blocking light. It’s your choice whether you erect a fully frosted wall or a partially frosted wall. If you opt for the latter, you can choose exactly how much privacy you get and exactly where you get it. For example, privacy walls can be fabricated with frosted, linen, laminated, milky, smoked, black and many other glass types. Do you want to cover the entire bottom half of the wall or do you want a strip centered in the middle of the partition? The range of options lets you customize your office setup to reflect your design aesthetic, your company culture, and combo glass is an easy, elegant way to achieve the right amount of visual privacy.


The Clutter

The single biggest productivity barrier has to be the clutter. It’s such a problem that the neuroscientists at Princeton University devoted an entire study to it. The results were hardly surprising. To quote the official report:

Multiple stimuli present in the visual field at the same time compete for neural representation by mutually suppressing their evoked activity throughout visual cortex, providing a neural correlate for the limited processing capacity of the visual system.

In laymen’s terms: Clutter equals distraction. The more clutter, the more distraction. A disorganized work area can also increase stress and frustration levels, which further reduces your productivity (and boosts your cortisol levels—never a good thing). Since every item on your desk competes for your attention, why not keep it to a minimum?

The Solutions

There are many clever solutions for reducing the jumble. Here are a few:

  • Create Rules and Stick to Them: Giving things up is hard. Sometimes it’s painful. Create strict rules to get around the second-guessing and fudging. Whether that means putting expiration dates on documents and throwing them out as soon as the date arrives or creating a home for every item on your desk, rules help us function at optimal levels.
  • Have a Filing System: The age-old, three-tiered system works best: inbox, in-progress, complete. Such a simple system helps you stay ahead of the daily onslaught. Beyond that, a clearly organized archiving system for both paper and digital documents helps you stay organized.
  • Create a Schedule: Discard at least one item every day or week. You could also schedule a full monthly cleanup—whatever works for you. Some people prefer to break the winnowing process into bite-sized pieces (it’s easier to part with one item at a time than it is to throw out an entire drawer). Others do better when they can work up the courage to purge everything at once.
  • Store Documents Digitally: The digital age has eliminated the need for those sky-high stacks of papers, right? So why do those little odds and ends still litter our desks (and drawers, and our shelves, and even our floors)? Go paperless, whenever you can, and consider scanning paper documents and receipts instead of filing them. You’ll do the environment a favor, save space, and eliminate disorder.
  • Don’t Forget the Digital Clutter: Computers can help reduce the paper imprint, but they also come with a clutter problem of their own. Open tabs, disorganized files, and an array of apps can complicate your life nearly as much as drawers full of loose ends. Be at least as strict with your digital organization as you are with everything else.
  • Office Partitions: In shared offices, the clutter problem is multiplied by the number of employees. You may be highly organized while your neighbor is the company litterbug. Putting up office partitions allows the neater employees to reduce their exposure to clutter and limits the impact of another’s mess to their own private area.


The Lighting

The right lighting can uplift, energize, and motivate an entire workplace. The wrong lighting can wreck anyone’s go-to spirit. Indeed, there’s something depressing about being locked in a cramped, windowless box, working day in and day out under the drone of an overhead fluorescent.

If you’ve ever dreaded the prospect of working at such an office, don’t worry; it’s not in your head, and you’re not alone. Research has shown that windowless offices have a negative impact on mood, productivity, sleep patterns, and overall quality of life.

The Solutions

  • Find a Window: It’s well-known that natural light is a worker’s best friend. A healthy dose of sunlight and fresh air can revive anyone’s spirits and inspire the most sluggish performer. Working from home? Stick your desk as close to the window as possible. Working remotely from a coffee shop? Get there early to snag a window seat. Wherever you are, try to grab as much natural light as possible.
  • Glass Partitions: Lighting isn’t all about windows and bulbs. The physical layout of a space can also impact how much light workers receive on a daily basis. Solid walls and doors interrupt the flow of light and add to the sense of dimness. Glass room dividers and office partitions do the opposite: They let plenty of light in a room while clearly demarcating different office spaces. Ideal for small office spaces design, glass partitions maximize the use of space without sacrificing the airy brightness that’s at the heart of contemporary office design.
  • Avoid the Fluorescents: Not everyone has a choice about where they stick their desk. Fortunately, there are ways to work around the worst office setup. Even if you’re chained to a room with an overhead fluorescent, you can improve the lighting by turning the built-ins off and bringing in some lamps.
  • Step Outside: Cramped in a windowless office for eight hours every day? Do your best to get outside. Every fresh air break you take will rejuvenate your spirit, chase away the doldrums, and rescue your productivity.

The Desk

Cramped desks can cramp your style. In addition to removing clutter, you also need to expand your working space. A small desk forces you to make constant decisions about what you can afford to keep on your desk and what needs to find a new home.

The Solutions

  • Define Your Needs: There’s no one-size-fits-all desk. Finding the right setup means balanced space limitations with space needs. How much room do you need? Do you frequently use notebooks? Do you often pull out binders and reference books? Do you work with multiple monitors? Do you need drawers for storage? Creative artists will, of course, need more space for laying out their tools and designs. In many cases, they’ll need at least two large desks. Take a good, hard look at what you use on a daily basis and base your decision on that.
  • Be Creative: One oversized desk may not be the best option. If you have the space, consider an L-shaped desk. If your office features a little nook, try a smaller desk for the computer and a larger one for everything else.
  • The Chair: The chair that goes along with your desk is as important, if not more important than the desk itself. Make sure you get an ergonomic chair that maximizes comfort and minimizes strain. If you have a multiple desk setup, a swivel chair is non-negotiable. When it comes to chairs, keep one rule in mind: Comfort always trumps aesthetics.

From room partitions to ergonomic chairs, there are plenty of ways to enhance your office space to improve the quality of life and maximize productivity. Looking for more small business office space ideas? Space Plus, a division of The Sliding Door Company, is committed to providing creative solutions for the modern workplace.

With everything from privacy walls to office partitions, we can help you design the perfect layout for maintaining a happy, healthy, productive workforce. Contact us or visit our showroom to see what we can do for you.


Three Innovative Door Solutions for the Modern Office

Planning your new office space? What’s the first thing that comes to mind? Desks, chairs, computer servers? How about sliding glass door dividers? What about door handles and locks?

Latches, locks, and levers may not be the first pieces of technology you think of when organizing new office space, but they are some of the most important. The right locks and handles can mean the difference between a secured office and a vulnerable office, between an employee-friendly workplace and a stressful work environment, between a federally compliant business and a citation waiting to happen.

Choosing the right door hardware can also be one of the most complicated decisions that businesses make as they arrange their new office or facility. How do you make sure your building is accessible to everyone? How do you comply with ADA regulations and still maintain a uniform locking system? How do you improve employee and visitor access and still maintain robust security with keyless entries?

Select the right doors, and you’ll get convenience, keyless entry, and accessibility all wrapped into one. Select the wrong technology, and you could make life tough on employees. Here are three challenges facing modern offices, and three innovative door solutions that improve the quality of life and boost productivity.

Bright Idea #1: Improve Accessibility with ADA Compliant Doors and Locks

  • The Challenge: Installing ADA-compliant doors with ADA compliant accessories.
  • The Solution: The Sliding Door Company’s ADA-compliant sliding glass doors, lever-lock systems, and handles.

An estimated 13 percent1 to 19 percent2 of the American population suffers from some form of disability. Over half are of working age.1 Employees with disabilities constitute an essential part of the modern workforce, and businesses should do everything they can to ensure their offices and other facilities remain accessible to this population.

Fortunately, they don’t have to start from scratch. The Americans with Disabilities Act lays out clear rules and provides helpful recommendations for improving accessibility. In order to accommodate everyone, many employers strive to maintain ADA Compliance in public areas.

What Are ADA-Compliant Doors?

Doors that aren’t built with disabilities in mind can present a challenge to people with limited mobility, particularly to individuals in wheelchairs. The Sliding Door Company’s ADA-compliant doors, on the other hand, allow all employees, customers, and visitors to move freely throughout an office or business facility. Such carefully manufactured doors meet the following criteria:

  • Clear Width: There should be at least 32 inches of open space between the face of the door and the opposite stop.3 In the case of sliding doors, the ADA door clearance push side, or clear width, must be 32 inches from the end of the door to the doorstop.4
  • Thresholds: Accessible doors must feature a threshold that’s no higher ½ inch. This requirement also applies to sliding doors. Greater latitude is permitted for beveled doors (see the ADA factsheet on doors for more detailed information).
  • Maneuvering Space: ADA door width and maneuverability requirements ensure that people who rely on wheelchairs or other mobility devices are able to:
    • Approach the doors
    • Reach and operate the handles or other hardware
    • Open the door without entering the swing zone (not applicable to sliding doors)
    • Enter through the doorway
    • Close the door
  • Force: In order to make interior doors accessible, The Sliding Door Company ensures that ADA-compliant doors require no more than 5 lbs. of force to open.

ADA Door Handle Requirements

Door handles also present problems. Roughly 20 million individuals within the U.S. have difficulty lifting and grasping objects,2 which can affect their ability to operate certain types of door equipment.

Fortunately, Space Plus, a division of The Sliding Door Company offers a wide selection of doors and handles that are specifically designed to help all workers go about their daily routine.

The Space Plus’ ADA-compliant handles:

  • Allow users to open or close doors using only one hand
  • Do not require people to tightly grasp or pinch the handle
  • Never force someone to twist their wrist (often required with round knobs)
  • Require no more than 5 lbf to operate
  • Are located 34” to 48” above the ground to meet ADA door handle height requirements

The state also recommends that bar and pull handles provide at least 1 ½ inches of clearance, which makes gripping easier.

When and Where to Install ADA-Compliant Doors and Accessories

The government does not demand that businesses outfit their entire building with accessible doors. That being said, each facility should provide enough facilitated access to ease the burden on disabled individuals. That means paying attention to interior doors as well as exterior doors. How many ADA-compliant doors does a business need, and where should they go?

In order to abide by federal standards, employers must:

  • Equip at least one public entrance with accessible doors (or at least 60 percent of public entrances to newly constructed buildings).
  • Place an accessible door at the opening to each accessible room and space within the building.
  • Use an accessible door at the entrance to each tenant space (applies to structures that house multiple businesses, such as a mall).
  • Use an accessible door for every access escape or evacuation route.3

Accessible doors ensure that every employee, every customer, and every visitor can navigate the building with ease. That boosts productivity and improves the quality of life for everyone involved.


Bright Idea #2: Open Doors with Your Smartphone

  • The Challenge: Providing easy access to employees and guests while maintaining robust security and tracking
  • The Solution: The Lockitron Bolt system

Want your doors to be as secure as they are convenient? The Sliding Door Company’s Lockitron Bolt system, the latest innovation in office door security, offers both. Instead of using a key that can easily be lost, forgotten, or stolen, simply use an app on your smartphone to open any interior door.

Lockitron Bolt Features & Advantages

  • Works with both sliding doors and swing doors
  • Wireless lock powered by four AA batteries
  • Old-fashioned locking and unlocking for when you forget your phone
  • Automatic low battery notification
  • App includes an activity log that monitors when entered and exited (even manual locking and unlocking)

The Lockitron Bolt manages to marry safety with expedience. No more fear of misplaced or stolen keys. No need to carry a cumbersome card around. No need to remember one extra item every time you go to and from your office.


Bright Idea #3: All-in-One Master Keys

  • The Challenge: Create a master key for the interior office fronts to the store front by minimizing the amount of keys for the maintenance, IT personnel and managers. This is revolutionary!
  • The Solution: Universal GL Latch

Modern businesses are re-purposing their cubicles and opting for free-flowing arrangements. Mixed-use spaces—a combination of open floor plans and private offices—are particularly popular. They do, however, create a dilemma. With so many different types of latches and locks, how can businesses produce and distribute master keys to their employees?

In the past, the only solution was to provide separate keys for separate doors. It was simply too difficult to master key every office to the store front. More keys meant more bulk, more items to remember, and a greater potential for security breaches.

The universal GL Latch, The Sliding Door Company’s revolutionary master key system, solves all those problems, allowing businesses to create one master key that opens the storefront as well as every individualized keyed office front inside the building.

Installing the GL Latch is simple and straightforward. The internal mechanism already comes with the door frame or aluminum extrusion. The only pieces that require on-site installation are the cylinder and receiver plate, which come in one tidy package, accompanied by easy, straightforward installation instructions.

GL Latch Advantages

  • Each piece fabricated with painstaking detail
  • Each component rigorously tested in our own factory
  • Pre-installed internal latching mechanism, compatible with so many other 1” mortise cylinders already installed in millions of buildings across the nation.

Never worry about juggling a bag full of keys again. The GL Latch gives everyone from top to bottom—executives, IT personnel, maintenance crews—the same hassle-free access.

Your Source for Bright Ideas

Looking for more clever and innovative solutions for the modern workplace? Visit to see our full range of bright ideas and cutting-edge solutions. While you’re there, browse through our product gallery to see a sample of the best interior sliding glass doors on the market.