Natural light is a necessity in every building, be it residential or commercial. New offices choose spaces with window walls, as sunlight has been proven beneficial for employees’ mental health. Plus, natural light saves energy.
But sunlight can also be harmful as much as it is healthy. When you expose yourself to it without sunscreen, the UV rays can burn your skin and increase your risk for skin cancer. But have you ever wondered what happens to inanimate objects when they sit under the sun for so long?
If you’d protect your skin against direct sunlight, then you should also protect your things from it. In the workplace, it’s easy to neglect the upkeep of our stuff, because they’re technically not our own. Still, companies pay money for office supplies and equipment, so we shouldn’t take them for granted.
That said, here are the things around your workplace that sunlight can damage:
1. Wooden Furniture
Filing cabinets, work desks, and conference tables are usually made of wood. In retail or service establishments, the furniture is often made of wood as well. When exposed to direct sunlight every day, wooden furniture loses its color quickly. Sometimes it would also darken, depending on the specific type of wood.
You can protect your workplace’s wooden furniture by applying a sealant to it. But if your wooden furniture is indoors, and your windows have treatments like drapes and privacy films, then you may skip this step. Sealing wood is only crucial for places with outdoor furniture, such as restaurants and resorts.
There are different types of wood sealants, and each of them has specific functions and benefits. Varnish, a widely-used type of sealant, has a glossy finish that protects excellently against UV and water damage. Lacquer, another popular sealant with a high-shine finish, protects well from the sun too but isn’t recommended for coarse wood including oak and cedar.
Choose a sealant that’s designed safe for the type of wood in your furniture. And for additional protection, buy high-quality awnings from a trusted local awning company. The more shaded wood furniture is, the slower it would degrade from the sun.
2. Computers and Laptops
Excessive heat can cause computers and laptops to become sluggish. These gadgets are prone to overheating. So if your work desks are placed near windows without shades, it’s time to equip them with protection.
The components of a computer or laptop operate at a current that results from a low voltage. Thus, any fluctuation in the voltage, such as excessive heat, can lead to damage. That’s how overheating and slowdown occur.
Condensation may also happen, which is the process that fogs up a glass screen. A buildup of condensation may result in a short-circuit in the hard drive.
Do you put down your smartphone anywhere near and just leave it there? If that place is heavily exposed to sunlight, you may risk damage to your phone. An iPhone, in particular, is sensitive to sunlight, according to Apple themselves.
When you expose your iPhone in a temperature higher than 95º, its screen may crack and its battery life may shorten. Luckily, iPhones alert their owners when it’s already getting too hot. At 113º, a temperature warning will appear on the screen. Heed this warning and start laying your iPhone in a relatively cooler place.
4. Books and Papers
If you keep book-bound papers or reference books in your workplace, ensure that they’re not getting direct sunlight. The UV rays can discolor paper, either turning it yellow or brown. It can also bleach down colored papers.
Over time, sun-exposed papers and books may become brittle or delicate. That’s because the UV rays break down the fibers in it. Worse, this chemical reaction continues even when the book is already taken away from direct sunlight.
Preserve your important papers and books by keeping them in a shaded place. Or store them inside file cabinets instead if you don’t need them displayed.
If you run a food business, especially food carts, food stalls, or food trucks, always keep your stocks shaded from the sun. Perishable food, or food that requires refrigeration, cannot sit out in the sun for more than two hours. Sunlight promotes bacterial growth in those foods, causing food-borne illnesses. It’s even more dangerous in the summer. During those months, never let perishable food sit under the sun for more than an hour.
Protect your food by storing them in high-quality coolers or freezers. Keep raw meat at the very bottom, where it is the coldest. Store beverages and perishable food in separate coolers, because you may open the beverage cooler more frequently. And each time you open a cooler, its temperature fluctuates.
By knowing which items in your workplace are the most sensitive to sunlight, you can preserve their pristine qualities longer. It’ll reduce your company’s costs for repairs and replacements, letting you enjoy a more stable cash flow.