IN MOST OFFICES POWER CAN BE measured in window space—whoever has the clout gets the view. At least that's how it was before Window-Lite. Now, thanks to Irv Hecker's faux vistas, even the lowliest cubicle-dweller can look onto a golf course, an ocean cove or a country garden.
Hecker, 57, knows from windows. Numerous studies, he says, show that workers with a view are happier, healthier and less likely to be absent than those without; surgery patients in windowed rooms recover faster. Five years ago, Hecker visited a friend who had decorated his government cubicle with a nature poster framed by curtains. Inspired, Hecker mounted a photograph of a beach scene in a 28-by-25-inch box, backlit it with three fluorescent tubes and hung it in a dim corner of his suburban Rockville, Md., home. "I hit a button," he says. "People had an emotional reaction to it."
Then Hecker, a divorced father of three grown children who is vice president of technology at Bio-Brite, a Bethesda, Md., company that produces the Sunrise alarm clock (no buzzer, just light) and a light visor for people who suffer depression in winter, persuaded his company to add the window to its line. Starting in December, Bio-Brite began marketing the $149.95 windows to customers like Sharon Klint, a mental health consultant in Rockford, Ill. "It's my window to the world," says Klint of the elaborately sculpted English garden she can now see from her desk. A better world, in some ways. "I'm not much of a gardener," she confesses. "Everything I touch I kill. But I'd like to have a garden exactly like this."