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Lighting and Productivity in the Workplace

By Have you ever walked out of a dim waiting room and felt instant rejuvenation or happiness for being outside again?

Office Light Fixture

Lighting and Productivity in the Workplace 

 

Have you ever walked out of a dim waiting room and felt instant rejuvenation or happiness for being outside again? Such is the link between lighting and productivity in the workplace. The illumination of a space is about more than achieving an aesthetic, it also influences its occupants' mood.  

 

Unfortunately, a quick study of how many office spaces consist of cubicles lit by sterile fluorescent bulbs will prove that many employers are unaware of how lighting affects productivity. But why is proper lighting important? Why are the effects of office interior color on workers’ mood and productivity so impactful? Let's find out. 

Does lighting and interior color really affect productivity?

There is a lot of evidence that good lighting paired with a well thought out office design can significantly improve a worker’s output. Natural light has been proven to be the best lighting for productivity as it helps one remain alert. But the effects of good lighting are not just short-term. Natural light also regulates the body’s circadian system which is the internal body clock that regulates your sleep and wake cycle and keeps your biological processes in check. Insufficient sleep or poor sleep quality due to a disoriented body clock can lead to memory loss, slower reflexes and diminished attention in the workplace meaning more accidents, errors and decreased productivity. 

 

Spaces that do not have much access to daylight should work with lighting that mimics it and color as It turns out cooler light makes workers more productive. Interior colors such as white can be used to compliment or even turn warm colors into cool tones. 

Lighting, interior color, and mental health

Productivity is almost always directly related to a worker’s physical or mental state, so it’s not a stretch to connect lighting to a person’s physical and mental health. Natural light from both the morning and evening sun has been found to decrease depression and improve mood and energy.

One study on shift-working call centers showed that office workers with more light exposure tended to have longer sleep, better sleep quality, more physical activity, and better quality of life compared to the workers in a shift with less light exposure. This is because light influences the body’s circadian rhythm. Though produced by natural factors within the body, circadian rhythms are also influenced by other external signals. Light is the biggest of these and can cause disruptions or abnormal sleep cycles which in turn affect a worker’s health. 

How different light affects workers

To understand color temperatures and the effect of color temperatures on the body, compare the warm glow of a candle to the blue light emitted from screens that scientists are always warning us about. Higher color temperatures of 4,600 K (Kelvin) or more are considered cool, because they’re in the violet and blue range of the color spectrum. They suppress melatonin and contribute to alertness. A typical sunny day’s lighting ranges between 5,000K to 5,500K. 

On the other hand, low color temperatures emit red, orange and yellow tones. Just like dim lighting, they can cause drowsiness. However, since warmer tones tend to create a sense of comfort, they can be used to create a feeling of calm and relaxation. Using flick on lighting solutions where the color tone of a room can be changed at will is a great way to keep a room dynamic. 

The effects of poor lighting

When it comes to performance in lighting, jobs in poor lighting spaces usually report low satisfaction from workers. With good reason. 

 

Poor lighting affects the circadian rhythm negatively, and there is much evidence that links this to short term impairments such as memory loss, slower psychomotor reflexes, and diminished attention. This can cause more accidents and errors in the workplace. In the long run, windowless environments and poorly lit spaces have been associated with obesity, diabetes, depression, and seasonal effective disorder. 

 

Aside from the effects of a disrupted sleep cycle, harsh office lighting is notorious for causing migraines and headaches, while lack of access to natural light has been shown to cause deficiency in Vitamin D. This discomfort makes for a highly demotivated employee, not to mention the time lost if they require medical attention. 

The best lighting for optimal productivity

By now it's pretty clear that natural lighting takes the medal for being the best productivity light, but sticking all the desks in front of the windows is not the solution. Daylight needs to be limited to maintain a cool, comfortable environment while controlling or eliminating glare. Good interior design can help achieve this. 

 

But what about offices that have limited access to daylight, or even at night? Keeping to higher temperature colors is best. Scientists recommend using blue-enriched bulbs, with the optimum color temperature being around 17,000 Kelvin. 

 

The most innovative companies are already taking advantage of the connection between lighting and productivity and so can you. Looking for a new office built with natural light optimization in mind? Contact us today to explore 

commercial property for sale or lease, one that both you and your employees will love working in.