There’s that cliché image we have in our heads of office spaces: a bubbling water cooler, cramped cubicles, and a flickering fluorescent light.
While there is more than one thing wrong with that picture, poor lighting is one that is all too common in office spaces. However, bad lighting conditions are not only detrimental to the health of employees, but they have serious negative impacts on the productivity and success of a business.
Our vision makes up about 85% of our perception of our surroundings. So, it makes sense that bad lighting can be a deterrent for motivation. But just how much does lighting impact productivity?
The difficulty with office lighting
Artificial lighting is not often designed to mimic natural daylight. Instead, they are either dulled, dim lights, or glaringly obtuse.
Low lights can cause drowsiness and strain your eyes. Bright lights can be overwhelming, mess with your sleep, and can potentially cause headaches and migraines. In both cases, employees can become distracted, and it can negatively impact motivation.
Sitting under poor lighting for extended periods has also been known to cause depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders.
Productivity is linked to employee satisfaction. It’s not surprising then that working in an environment that makes you either exhausted or causes physical and mental pain will lead to low morale and poor work performance.
Natural lighting is the preferred choice for productivity. Our bodies are naturally designed to respond to the rising and the setting of the sun.
Natural light affects the body in two ways. The first is it affects how well we can see. Unlike with fluorescent lights, our eyes aren’t having to work as hard. Natural light can also improve mood and behaviour.
In some cases, natural light in office spaces has resulted in higher employee satisfaction, lower absentees, and increased work output
However, not every office space has access to an abundance of natural light. Moreover, when paired with the light from computer screens, natural light can be overwhelming.
Where possible, it’s best that artificial light and natural lighting work in combination with each other.
Modern offices and residential homes have been turning to LED lighting as an alternative option to lighting.
Their long lifespan, energy-efficiency, and sustainability make them a more cost-effective option for office spaces.
In terms of productivity, they are the ideal solution.
The temperature and spectral distributions of LED lights significantly influence mood and alertness. LED light technology has become advanced enough that it can mirror daylight spectrums. Their colour temperatures can be varied throughout the workday to mirror the natural changing of daylight.
Employees can be welcomed in the mornings by warm, yellowed lighting, which will encourage alertness. Throughout the day, the lights will subtly change to a cool blue, allowing people to wind down gently.
These lights have been known to influence employees’ mood and alertness and significantly improve an individual’s wellbeing.
Lighting and productivity
The impact that good lighting can provide is substantial. Some businesses shy away from lighting renovations because of the cost. However, it is a sorely missed opportunity for growth.
The productivity gained through good office lighting will make up for the cost of the renovations. Globally, offices have seen dramatic changes in employee productivity and satisfaction due to changing their lighting.
Good lighting, designed with keeping your employees’ wellbeing in mind, is hugely beneficial to the output of your business.
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