Light is a fundamental necessity for most living things, including humans. It’s also indispensable for getting stuff done in the workplace. But not all light is equal.
Office lighting is often overlooked by productivity experts, but the quality and quantity of light in your office space can greatly affect your company’s productivity and profitability — as well as your employees’ health and well-being. Here are a few things to think about when choosing lighting in offices.
Consider the Source
Different sources of light affect human beings in different ways. Sunlight is the original work light provided by nature, and not surprisingly natural daylight also turns out to be the healthiest for your workers. Employees in a day-lit office call in sick less often, and experience less fatigue, eyestrain and greater focus. Mood and memory also improve under daylight; one study of mental function and memory showed 10-25 percent improvement in rooms with daylight and a view compared to those without.
However, daylight is not always an option. What then? The best bet is to choose office lights that have a similar effect to daylight on human physiology.
One important thing to consider is the color temperature of the bulb. Don’t be misled by labels that claim a light bulb is “full spectrum” or “daylight matched.” These claims are often nothing more than marketing hype. Full spectrum lights aren’t necessarily better for health or productivity than regular artificial light sources, according to researchers at the Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Instead, reach for bulbs that are heavy on the blue (short wavelength) end of the spectrum: 4,600 or more on the Kelvin scale. The highest Kelvin bulbs are associated with highest productivity and greater worker comfort.
Another underappreciated factor that can affect your workers’ moods and productivity is how even the lighting is in the room. Many offices are equipped with parabolic lighting fixtures. These are designed to shine most of the light directly downward. The intention is to illuminate the direct area of work, and these lights achieve that goal. However, these bright office lights also tend to create a cave-like appearance to the room, where the ceiling and upper walls recess into the shadows. This can give workers an uneasy feeling and lead to eyestrain, as their eyes have to constantly adjust from bright to dark areas. Equipping your office instead with lensed indirect fixtures that shine light upward and let it reflect off the ceiling and walls can lead to more comfortable — and efficient — employees.
Finally, it’s good to remember that, even in an office, conditions can vary. While bright office light can be stimulating, it also can be overly so in certain situations and to certain individuals. Giving your employees some control over their lighting conditions by providing dimmable lighting, supplementary lamps, and adjustable window and fixture shades can go a long way toward keeping them happy and productive.
While We’re on the Topic of Office Efficiency…
Temperature and air quality are right up there with lighting in terms of office worker comfort and productivity. Here at Go Fan Yourself, the solution is clear: Look into our new ReCircuLite, an innovative combination LED light fixture and recirculation fan. To learn more, contact us here.