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Before you take the job, check the number of windows in the office

The effect of architecture on your work.

Photograph: Getty Images

Believers in Churchill’s maxim, "First we shape our buildings and then they shape us," will be intrigued by a new study.

Straight out of Northwestern University, a paper entitled, Impact of Workplace Daylight Exposure on Sleep, Physical Activity and Quality of Life, proves a strong correlation between the amount of natural light in your office and the quality of your performance.

"Not surprising," you’ll say. But the figures are more startling than you might expect.

Analysing 49 workers, it became apparent that those with windows received 173 per cent more white light during work hours. The effect was an average 46 more minutes of sleep every night and an increase in the amount of exercise performed and overall vitality.

Yes, the study has holes. For instance, were all the workers doing the same job? And why were 27 windowless workers compared to 22 window-enjoying workers?

But, if the findings are true, the study has interesting implications.

It suggests that getting the corner office is a self-reinforcing cycle of success. More light could mean better performance and additional promotions. So perhaps it’s just as wise to choose your employer on the state of their office as on the state of their business.

This article first appeared on Spears