How Natural Lighting Will Enhance Guest Experience08 / 15 / 2017
You see them at every big conference, bleary eyed people racing toward the coffee station the second the first break in proceedings is announced. Yet there’s a simple antidote to the restiveness and fatigue that can develop when people are closeted in a large, dark meeting room for a couple days. It’s something that helps people feel fresher and more productive during proceedings. And it’s as simple as ensuring that some natural light makes an appearance at your business event or meeting.
Natural Hotel Lighting Boosts Health and Performance
Study after study has shown that natural light has a positive effect on human bodies and minds. Remarkably, the human eye notices the variations in the direction and intensity of light over the course of a day and throughout the seasons each year. These variations occur in patterns, which turn out to be significant to human health.
As the retina takes in natural light in all its daily and seasonal variations, the patterns assist in setting and supporting our body’s biological clock, or circadian rhythm. They contribute to the regulation of many processes including circulation, heart rate and the secretion of hormones like those related to pleasure (dopamine and serotonin) or stress (cortisol). Most importantly for busy people, the patterns also affect our body’s production of melatonin, the all-important sleep hormone.
So keeping the coffee flowing isn’t the only way of ensuring that those attending meetings are getting the job done. Providing access to rooms illuminated with well-managed natural light helps people sleep longer (by 46 minutes a night, in one study), which means they’ll be ready and able to work. It also supports their creativity, alertness and productivity so the work gets done really well.
Natural Light Connects People with Nature
People prefer natural over artificial light, it’s as simple as that. As already mentioned, natural light is highly dynamic throughout the day and year. Research shows that people prefer to experience these variations, rather than the typical static light from artificial sources. This comes down to what scientists call natural preference, a fancy term referring to the human’s preference for natural over synthetic or artificial substances.
In fact, according to a large study of office workers given the choice of several natural elements (plants, bright colours, sea view, etc) for their workspace, natural light was the most sought-after natural element. The constantly changing colours are stimulating for the human brain and it’s a basic human desire to be in or around it.
For event planners, providing this connection to the natural world can make a business event more restful and pleasant for busy travellers running from one indoor space to another, or one time zone after another.
Natural Light Makes for a Greener Meeting
There’s also a green reason for seeking out natural light. Energy consumption can account for up to 60% of a hotel’s carbon footprint. And lighting is typically one of the biggest consumers of energy. When used to replace or to mitigate the use of artificial lights, natural light contributes to the overall lowering of energy consumption by reducing the use of electricity.
This makes meeting in naturally lit spaces an added attraction to those who are keen to be that little bit more carbon-friendly, or find more sustainable options for their business activities.
Putting Natural Light to Work at Your Next Meeting
Now, no one can argue that there’s a time and place for large-capacity, artificially lit spaces, for large conferences or trade shows, or events that include lots of audio-visual presentations or require special lighting. Yet there are many options for using smaller naturally lit spaces either within the framework of larger events or for smaller or conjoining events.
These opportunities are available at Surrey’s new Civic Hotel, where the purposeful use of elements like light and views outside are a key part of its commitment to the success and well-being of its guests through connections provided to the natural world. So in addition to its two large, more traditional ballrooms, it provides flexible, daylit meeting spaces with outdoor views that are perfect for breakout sessions, smaller meetings, or huddle spaces.
The Hotel’s luminous glass lobby includes a business lounge with a meeting table perfect for discussions and informal meetings. The bright, open-concept lobby area also provides diverse opportunities for huddles and smaller, more informal networking among guests. On the more formal side, naturally lit options include an airy pre-function space as well as two Plaza boardrooms that can accommodate events for up to 40 people.
These are just a few examples of how you can stimulate discussion and improve results at your next business event or meeting by replacing shots of caffeine with shots of natural light. It’s just one more way to support the health and output of those hard at work around the table.