6 lighting hacks for healthier,more productive workplaces
It’s summer and there’s light all around us — we take it for granted until those dark winter months come along. The sheer lack of sunlight can be depressing. Every year we encounter this longing for summer,craving those long,bright days once we feel energetic and in a good mood. The sad news is,we’ve again passed the longest day of 2015,but the great news is that the perfect artificial lighting in your office can help you through. Good lighting creates pleasant working conditions in a functional and atmospheric way. Satisfaction and efficiency will improve if you be sure you have enough daylight intake and a well-lit office space. Artificial lighting that doesn’t just help you see,but also meets your biological lighting requirements,is the future of office lighting. Here are six light hacks to keep you healthy and alert through these dark winter days.
1 Create atmospheres where your thoughts can develop
We’re all attracted to light,and there is not any other medium that’s as big 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 could improve staff wellbeing and generate a dynamic,creative and motivating environment. The research indicates that in businesses with a high standard of interior design,productivity can increase by up to 36 per cent. Who wouldn’t like to see their efficiency skyrocket? Additionally,comprehensive research from the Light Right Consortium,arrived at the conclusion that light increases productivity. Only around 70 per cent of the interviewees stated that working at workstations with only downward lighting was comfortable. In comparison,91 per cent saw a light atmosphere with direct/indirect light and a high quantity of vertical lit surfaces pleasing. Moreover,if the desk lighting is individually controllable,people feel motivated and work with greater accuracy. TIP: Create a light atmosphere with direct and indirect lighting. Avoid having only downwards-directed illumination.
Two Light for people,not just tasks
Lighting is often just regarded as a necessity to enable us to see,but in fact it has many more attributes than the obvious ones. We should move away from just thinking of light for jobs and concentrate on creating light settings for people. Today,most people work indoors,and spends almost the entire day inside,in an unnaturally dark atmosphere. Our light intake is liable for feeling and sleeping well,and affects our productivity. When there is a lack of natural light to help us tell the time of day,then our circadian rhythm (body clock) loses its speed,with tiredness and listlessness because of this. We always find ourselves surrounded by light. It is a lot more than just illumination. It inspires,attracts,enables communication,sets a mood,and has emotional qualities. If this knowledge transcends into our built environment,pleasant atmospheres are created. Think of a trip to a theater,a restaurant,or nightclub. These experiences are formed by light. Good lighting enhances the mood and desirability of spaces,consequently leading to people’s sense of wellbeing. Every building and distance expresses and communicates an identity,and sometimes also a corporate value. Superior lighting should be a part of this,because what other element can enhance a feeling as much as lighting can? TIP: Create a mixture of different lighting. Use illumination that supports a space’s individuality
3 From homo sapiens to homo officunus
In the world today,we spend many hours working in biotopes — surroundings created by humans. Instead of trying to accommodate ourselves to our creations,we should adapt these biotopes to our requirements. Adequate light is one of these needs. Here are a few tips: Take the biological quality of light into consideration. It affects our sleep-wake cycle and this has a big influence on our health and productivity. Adapt the light to the daytime and year,as well concerning the individual needs of the consumer. Vertical surface illumination,preferably on large wall surfaces,is crucial to create a feeling of depth and space. It also gives a visual resting point for the eyes and provides a nice atmosphere to the working environment. Too often,office environments are insufficiently lit,not only from the perspective of biological light needs 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 plenty of space for it to improve.
4 Get the best spot in the house
Are you based at a co-working space? Choosing the right spot in the home can go a long way. Pick a place with a great deal of daylight. It is recommended that around three per cent daylight reaches a individual’s working area. However,in the majority of offices this is not the case. Daylight gives an emotional quality to some space and the possibility to look outside is an added bonus. If you can,select a spot near the window. But make sure thatthere is sun shading to prevent harsh reflections on your computer screen. TIP: Take the window seat,north,east or west facing
5 Light against the blues
About 80 per cent of information is taken in through our eyes. Until recently it was believed that our eyes used two kinds of photoreceptors — rods and cones — to obtain light,but a decade ago,a third kind,called ganglion cells,was discovered. Unlike sticks and cones,these cells don’t contribute directly to our sight; they’re nevertheless light dependent and help to modulate our circadian rhythm. So light is not just a prerequisite for seeing,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 period of the year,leading to the winter blues or seasonal affective disorder (SAD) — a type of depression linked to a lack of light. It leaves people feeling moody and lacking energy. Even in a workplace setting,light treatment makes people feel more awake and energized. It is found that an illumination which goes up to 2000 lux at the working place in the morning and the afternoon,reduces the physiological reaction of anxiety and gives an energising effect to the body. In comparison,most working areas are lit to a standard 500 lux. If you would like to check the quantity of lux at your desk, download a lux meter app. It is not very precise,but it gives you an idea on how small light we really have indoors. Not only is a higher quantity of lighting required,but also the colour temperature of the light plays a role. The artificial lighting should correspond to the colour temperature of the daylight. At noon the sky’s colour is a very trendy 10000K but at sunset it’s a far warmer 2000K. Additionally light should reflect indirectly into the eyes from large surfaces,such as walls and ceilings. TIP: Attempt to grab enough daylight at any time of the year. Go outside for a break,get off a stop earlier from the subway and walk the rest of the way to the workplace. You should have at least half an hour of daylight a day
A deadline and a great deal of work beforehand,no time to sleep! As light can disrupt your sleeping routine,it may also boost your own activity. If you have followed the above-mentioned advice for mutually successful lighting than you’re already on the right path. If you need to pull an all-nighter,increase the light intensity and the quantity of bluish white light in the room. Almost done with your work? You may also have experienced that if you work late on a computer or tablet it’s difficult to sleep afterwards. The cause of this is that the high blue content of the backlit screens. So use this light 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 instance,works on most systems,or the Twilight app reduces the quantity of blue light on your own Android phone. TIP: Have different lamp types and colour temperatures at your working area. Warm light sources at your desk could be combined with general and indirect lighting with different colour temperatures,for example 3500K and 5000K.