Science Confirms: Your Windowless Newsroom Is Making You Sick

By Mark Joyella 


Thinking back to every newsroom I’ve ever worked in or walked through, there’s one design feature that screams out, and has always made me wonder: is there some reason we can’t have windows in here? It’s the same design at station after station: the sales folks get windows, the newsroom has an ugly cave with backlit logos near the assignment desk.

Now comes science to tell us what we’ve already suspected: working in those caves isn’t healthy. According to a story at Fast Company, workers exposed to natural light get significant health benefits–and not just on the job:

Overall, the findings suggest that the health benefits of exposure to daylight during the work day extend far beyond quitting time and even beyond the work week. In addition to more overall light exposure, these workers sleep better, seem more active, and have higher quality-of-life ratings than those who work in artificial light all day.

On the flip side, workers–like news producers, assignment editors, and managers (reporters and photographers at least get exposure to the sun)–who have work areas with no natural light lose about 46 minutes or more of sleep every night, including days off. “The windowless group fared significantly worse on two particular areas, including “vitality.” Workers without daylight exposure also showed worse overall sleep quality on a well-established self-report sleep index.”

I can recall one newsroom that was in a building originally designed with windows. They had been covered up and the walls painted black. Because that’s what we do. Looks good on television, of course, but those sad, sick people at the desks? It’s not good for them.

Just thought you deserved to know.