6 lighting hacks for healthier,more productive workplaces
It’s summer and there’s light all around us — we take it for granted till those dark winter months come along. The sheer lack of sun can be depressing. Every year we experience this longing for summer,craving those long,bright days when we feel energetic and in a fantastic mood. The good thing is,we have again passed the longest day of 2015,but the great news is that the perfect artificial lighting in your office can help you through. Very good lighting creates pleasant working conditions in a practical and atmospheric way. Satisfaction and efficiency will improve if you make sure you have sufficient daylight ingestion and a well-lit office space. Additionally,your productivity will be positively affected by well-designed illumination. Artificial lighting that does not just help you view,but also meets your biological lighting requirements,is the future of office lighting. Here are six lighting hacks to keep you healthy and awake through these dark winter days.
1 Produce atmospheres where your thoughts can develop
We’re all attracted to light,and there isn’t any other medium that’s as large an impact on our bodies and minds as light. Both daylight and artificial light play an integral role in our health and wellbeing. Increasingly,companies face the question of how they can improve staff wellbeing and create a dynamic,creative and motivating atmosphere. The research shows that in companies with a high standard of interior design,productivity can increase by up to 36 percent. Who wouldn’t like to see their efficiency skyrocket? Additionally,comprehensive research from the Light Right Consortium,came to the conclusion that light raises productivity. Only around 70 percent of the interviewees stated that working at workstations with only downward lighting was comfy. In contrast,91 per cent found that a lighting setting with direct/indirect lighting and a high quantity of vertical lit surfaces pleasing. Furthermore,if the desk light is independently controllable,people feel motivated and work with greater accuracy. TIP: Create a lighting atmosphere with direct and indirect lighting. Avoid having just downwards-directed illumination.
Two Light for people,not just jobs
Lighting is often just seen as a necessity to enable us to see,but actually it has many more qualities than the obvious ones. We should move away from just thinking of lighting for tasks and concentrate on producing light settings for people. Today,most people work inside,and spends nearly the entire day indoors,in an unnaturally dark atmosphere. Our light intake is liable for sleeping and feeling well,and affects our productivity. When there’s a shortage of natural light to help us tell the exact time of day,then our circadian rhythm (body clock) loses its pace,with fatigue and listlessness as a result. It’s a lot more than just illumination. If this knowledge transcends into our built environment,pleasant atmospheres are made. Think of a visit to a theater,a restaurant,or nightclub. These experiences are shaped by light. Very good lighting enhances the mood and desirability of spaces,consequently leading to people’s sense of health. Every construction and distance expresses and communicates an identity,and at times also a corporate value. Superior lighting should be a part of this,because what other component can enhance an atmosphere as much as light can? TIP: Produce a mixture of different lighting. Use illumination that supports a space’s individuality
3 From homo sapiens to homo officunus
In today’s world,we spend many hours working in biotopes — surroundings made by humans. Instead of trying to adapt ourselves to our creations,we must adapt these biotopes to our requirements. Adequate light is one of these needs. Here are a few guidelines: Take the biological quality of lighting into account. It affects our sleep-wake cycle and this has a large influence on the health and productivity. Adapt the lighting to the daytime and year,as well as to the individual needs of the user. Vertical surface illumination,preferably on large wall surfaces,is crucial to create a feeling of space and depth. Additionally,it gives a visual resting point for the eyes and adds a nice atmosphere to the working environment. Too frequently,office environments are insufficiently lit,not just from the perspective of biological lighting demands but also from an architectural one,where the space feels smaller due to inadequate lighting. The chart below shows how office workers assessed their working environments — showing which aspects are important to them and how satisfied they are with every aspect. As you can see,lighting is rated the most important of all the aspects mentioned,but there’s loads of space for it to improve. TIP: Have a light for general illumination,a standing luminaire that uplights the ceiling and a desk light
4 Get the best place in the house
Are you based in a co-working space? And is there a flexible desk policy? Choosing the ideal place in the home can go a long way. Pick a place with a lot of daylight. It’s recommended that around three percent daylight reaches a individual’s working area. However,in most offices this isn’t the case. Daylight gives an emotional quality to some space and the possibility to look out is an added bonus. If you can,select a spot near the window. But make sure thatthere is sun shading to stop harsh reflections on your computer screen. About 80 percent of information is taken in through our eyes. Unlike sticks and cones,these cells do not contribute directly to our sight; they are nevertheless light dependent and help to regulate our circadian rhythm. So light isn’t just a requirement for viewing,but is also an important zeitgeber (timer) and a regulator for our bodies. Unfortunately,we often don’t get the light intake we really need,especially during the darker time of the year,resulting in the winter blues or seasonal affective disorder (SAD) — a type of depression linked to a lack of light. It leaves people feeling stressed and lacking energy. Many people who suffer from SAD benefit from bright light therapy. In a workplace setting,light therapy makes people feel more awake and energized. It’s found that an illumination that goes up to 2000 lux in the working area in the morning and the afternoon,reduces the physiological reaction of anxiety and gives an energising effect to the body. In contrast,most working areas are lit to a standard 500 lux. If you would like to check the amount of lux at your desk,then download a lux meter app. It’s not very precise,but it gives you an idea on how small light we really have inside. Not only is a higher quantity of light required,but also the colour temperature of the lighting plays a role. At noon the sky’s colour is a very trendy 10000K but at sunset it is a much warmer 2000K. Additionally lighting should reflect indirectly into the eyes from large surfaces,such as walls and ceilings. TIP: Try to catch enough daylight at any time of the year. You should have at least half an hour of daylight a day
A deadline and a lot of work ahead,no time to sleep! As lighting can disrupt your sleeping pattern,it can also boost your own activity. In case you’ve followed the above-mentioned advice for biologically effective illumination than you’re already on the right path. If you will need to pull an all-nighter,increase the light intensity and the amount of bluish white light in the room. Almost done with your job? Change the atmosphere to warm,low-intensity lighting,which will calm you down. You may also have experienced that when you work late on a computer or tablet it is difficult to sleep afterwards. The reason for this is that the high blue content of the backlit displays. Blue light at night causes an out-of-phase circadian rhythm,and is a health hazard. So use this lighting hack consciously. There are a number of applications you can install that correlate the screen’s brightness and colour,to the daylight of where you are. F.lux,by way of example,works on many systems,or the Twilight app lowers the amount of blue lighting on your Android phone. TIP: Have different lamp types and colour temperatures in your working area. Warm light sources in your desk can be combined with general and indirect lighting with different colour temperatures,such as 3500K and 5000K.