The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way that many of us worked, with office spaces no longer viable and the majority of the workforce required to work from home.
The need to reimagine workspaces and restructure the way people do their jobs became clear, with people working from home reporting mixed opinions on how it affected their wellbeing, motivation, productivity, and ability to draw a line between their work life and personal life.
Ultimately, this period has shone a light on the need for workspaces to facilitate the ability for employees to collaborate on work projects, as well as socialise, in addition to offering the comfort that many people found improved their productivity when they worked from home.
A major component that affected people’s mental health during lockdown was being cut off from the external environment, particularly in urban areas. In fact, mental health charity Mind released a report entitled “Feel Better Outside, Feel Better Inside”, which included findings from the University of Essex that highlighted the benefits of ecotherapy for mental wellbeing.
But how does this translate to office environments? The effects of exposure to natural light in the workplace on the health and productivity of office workers, a systematic review published by JBI, stated that “there are a number of benefits of exposure to natural light. As well as its necessity for vitamin D synthesis, daylight also plays a critical role in maintaining circadian rhythm.” Additionally, “admitting daylight to the work area may increase worker satisfaction and productivity while slashing energy costs.”
Technology developed by science and technology specialists Merck rethinks the modern workspace, placing emphasis on wellbeing and natural light. The eyrise s350 utilises solar shading technology to allow users to instantly adjust daylight quality to suit the needs of employees. This means offices can control light and heat on-demand or via a building management system.
According to Bruce Nicol, head of global design at eyrise: “People will gravitate back to work in office environments because it’s vital to how we work. People like to actually meet, talk and be sociable; that is where most creative work happens, so the pandemic has been a strange period to get through.
“Transparency is a really key element to how we live and work and feel about our spaces, and it’s critical to how we grow and stay healthy. There are a lot of studies about the connection between the inside and outside, and letting people feel that they’re part of the external environment, despite being behind the glass facades which keep us dry and warm or cool.
“There are lots of reasons why people design glass facades, but one of the main issues and challenges is how you modify the energy from the sun coming through that piece of glass and heating up the space, which then needs to be cooled down. The cooling costs of buildings is the biggest energy user.”
In fact, according to the European Commission, the energy used for heating and cooling in buildings accounts for 50% of the EU’s annual energy consumption. This means that in addition to improving the wellbeing of employees, eyrise s350 can also deliver significant energy savings.
“Our solar shading product is there to change or vary the amount light that’s coming into a building, as well as the amount of solar radiation that causes spaces to heat up,” Nicol explains.
“Buildings heat up for lots of reasons. Solar gains is one of the big ones, and the amount of internal lighting and computers is another. There are a lot of factors. To keep the temperature down, you need to introduce some sort of ventilation. Ideally, that should be natural, but when you start building high it’s not always easy to make naturally ventilated spaces. What eyrise s350 is doing, is modifying the amount of solar heat gained, whilst keeping facades transparent.”
People all over the world are already seeing the benefit of this solar shading technology. “For projects in Scandinavia, the glass is used to allow people to benefit from the winter sunshine. In Scandinavia, the sun is almost horizontal and rarely around, so people really benefit when they have some natural sunlight,” Nicol adds.
For more information about eyrise s350 technology, download the whitepaper below.