In cities across the country, ambitious young companies are making extravagant investments in their employee wellness programs, installing things like coffee shops, gymnasiums, day-care centers, and even the occasional craft brewery. But according to a recent study from Future Workplace entitled “The Employee Experience”, what employees really want is far more simple, and lucky you, far less expensive.

Re-designing your workplace’s lighting system is not only an effective way to make your business more energy efficient ($$), but it is also one of the top things that employees consider when judging their overall happiness with a workspace.

Light can have a tremendous effect on us human beings. It tells us when it’s time to get up, when it is time to sleep, and even when it is time for our brains to be the most productive.

Here’s a few of the ways that the most innovative [city] business are shining a new light on employee wellness.

Customizable Lighting Options

Most managers that you talk to will be wary about the concept of giving your employees control of their workspaces. While this kind of freedom might be common in Silicon Valley, it simply isn’t the way things are done in most commercial buildings.

However, providing your employees or tenants with a few different lighting options can increase job satisfaction by a significant amount. With today’s LED lighting options, it is possible to split your custom lighting into multiple zones that can operate at different settings of color, brightness, and intensity.

An Increase in Natural Light

According to a study from the UK company Staples, 80% of all office workers said that having access to good lighting in their workplace is “very important” to job satisfaction, and nearly 40% of all office

workers are already experiencing “uncomfortable” lighting conditions at their current job.

The cheapest way to alleviate the bad-light blues? Let the Sun In. By expanding or adding windows and skylights wherever possible, you can not only give your people access to the abundant, natural light that they are craving, but you are also likely to slash your energy bill in the process.

Outdoor Work Areas

When the sun is shining in [city], some of the city’s best professionals are getting their work done outside. Whether your building is located in a business park or in the hustle and bustle of downtown, taking advantage of any and all outdoor space you have is an easy way to make your employees or tenants more comfortable.

Simple patio-style work courtyards are an easy way to pull this off, but some downtown buildings are taking advantage of their most underused real-estate: the roof.

Re-Think Your Floor Plan

No one would argue that the best space in the office is along the windows, which is probably why so many executives and managers of yore would reserve this space for only their best, brightest, and highest-paid.

Leave it to [city] innovators to break the mold: today, forward-thinking organizations are not blocking all their precious sunlight with office walls and cubicles. Instead, the spaces with the most natural light are being reserved for the people who are actually doing the work.

Switching to Dynamic-Control LED Light Bulbs

We already know that there are some wavelengths of light that are better for us than others, but what most companies can’t seem to get a grip on is the fact that with a minimal investment, we can put the full control of those wavelengths at our fingertips.

LED lighting systems are capable of operating at different colors, wavelengths, and intensities. Not only can you use this to your advantage to emulate more natural lighting cycles, which results in more rested employees, but it has the added benefit of saving you money on your monthly energy bill.