There are certain factors that everyone knows affect workplace performance, but there is one important consideration often overlooked by most companies across the world: lighting.
Obviously, it’s common knowledge that reading in poor light can harm the eyes, but lighting has effects well beyond that, an organisation’s choice of lighting can have a considerable effect on the productivity of the company as a whole.
One study points out that 68% of employees are unhappy about the lighting situation in their workplaces. The fact that such a great number of workers complained about the lighting in their offices implies that many companies could be making the same mistakes. As a manager or CEO, your primary focus is to increase the performance of your human resource but can’t do so if the workplace environment hinders people from reaching their best potential.
Effects of Lighting on Productivity & Mood
Believe it or not, lighting can have a significant impact on one’s ability to concentrate, especially among office employees. Every study here and there says that lighting has a deeper impact on our lives than we had ever known.
In fact, one recent study from Philips pointed that there’s an important link between light and our circadian rhythms or “built-in-clocks” responsible for our relaxation, sleep cycle and stimulation. Properly lighted environments have also been said to reduce depression as well as improve one’s mood, energy levels, alertness, and productivity.
There’s no more doubt about whether light affects our productivity or not – genetically speaking, we are programmed to perform better under specific lighting, which allows us to respond differently depending on the light in a certain environment.
There are three variations in lighting that can make or break your workplace productivity:
Higher colour temperatures (4,600K or more) – are cool or daylight colours that appear in blue-white.
Mid-range colour temperatures (3,100k-4,600k) – provide a cool white appearance.
Lower colour temperatures (up to 3,000k) – are warm colours and range from red to yellowish-white.
According to Avantes, different colour variations have different effects on productivity, one of the most significant factors influencing how we work is the colour temperature of the light sources we’re exposed to on a daily basis.
One way of making sense of the light output in a room is by using a spectrometer. This device uses a special sensor that can take calibrated readings of power, radiance/irradiance and intensity in optical units or lumens.
That said, it’s increasingly possible to fine-tune the optical characteristics of your lighting system to display distinct aesthetic features like dimming or changing colours with LEDs or SSLs. This is possible through interconnectivity between devices and essentially better light measurement technology.
However, a spectrometer unlocks the full potential of LEDs by maintaining their exceptional optical characteristics. It can measure multiple lighting parameters, including spectral power distribution, colour, and colour rendering properties, allowing you to choose the best lighting.
Change the light to change the mood
Studies suggest that ambient lighting has the ability to considerably alter the performance and mood of employees.
Dim lighting – is generally good in break areas as it creates a sense of comfort relaxation and helps people break free from stress. But if this lighting effect is installed in a critical workroom, it will cause employees to strain their eyes by reducing vision and causing headaches.
Cool lighting – it’s ideal for critical workspaces where you want to improve alertness, performance, and mood. Cool lighting helps reduce melatonin levels which in turn reduce fatigue so it’s usually preferred in office areas where concentration and high alertness are vital. It turns out that cold lighting is more beneficial for productivity than other lighting temperatures.
Natural lighting – all studies have pointed out that natural sunlight is the most conducive in a workspace. Not for nothing, it is recommended to adjust the office layout in a way that occupants can benefit the most from natural lighting. This not only helps employees see and feel better, but they also have lower levels of stress.
What type of office lighting promotes ergonomic success?
- Task lighting
Task lighting lets you illuminate a particular area where you’re working, writing, or reading. It’s beneficial during cloudy days, such as when there is little to no natural light.
In order to be effective, task lighting must contrast with the rest of the room. As such, a desk lamp might be useful.
- Ambient lighting
One of the brightest forms of lighting is usually used in conference rooms, hallways, and reception areas to give the space better illumination. For this type of lighting larger lighting installation is needed, especially with overhead light systems.
For this reason, most office spaces install fluorescent lighting systems. However, in spite of its less expensive acquisition costs, ambient or fluorescencnt lighting can cause adverse effects on both productivity and health in the long run. For this reason, businesses looking to upscale their workplace performance should choose incandescent lighting. If that’s not an option and fluorescent lighting is used throughout the office building, opt for more natural light to negate the negative effects of the fluorescent light.
Light, therefore, can make or break our mood and productivity, both at home and in the workplace. As a matter of fact, it has been shown that insufficient lighting can contribute to deficiency in Vitamin D and depression. It can even affect our appetite – for example, in the case of brightly-lit rooms, we tend to eat slower and lighter meals, while in a dim-lighted room, we tend to overeat.
Yet, the most significant impact of light on our bodies is that it affects our circadian rhythms – it can either keep you awake all night or encourage you to sleep, so choosing your lighting is important for a series of reasons.