Have you ever noticed that going to work on a cloudy day is more gloomy than on a sunny day, unless you are the living cliche of “my job is my passion”? If we don’t account for rain and the fact that most people aren’t terribly fond of going to work in the first place, it just seems that the lack of sun makes you just as gloomy as the sky. That said, you are hardly alone, the feeling is mutual among numerous commuters.
From the perspective of a business owner, manager or HR specialist, the general atmosphere of the workplace is an important topic because it affects productivity. So, what can you do, when despondent employees arrive at the office as if a small black rainy cloud is hanging over their head? Well, show them the light!
Natural light as the most natural choice
Natural light, or light in general, plays a far greater role than just helping us see things that are physically in front of us. Our brains and bodies are naturally tuned into Sun’s rising and setting and unless our jobs and obligations don’t dictate otherwise, they prefer to rest during the night and be productive during the day. An office full of natural light would make for a room of alert and consequently, productive employees.
It is unreasonable to expect maximum efficiency from your employees if they struggle to stay alert, not because of the last night’s party but because a poorly lit room signals their brain that it’s time to sleep. So, if you are in the process of moving or settling in new office space, always strive to find one with the most access to natural light so you can make use of it as much as possible.
Say no to fluorescent lighting systems
Natural light is not an option in most offices, perhaps because the windows are facing the west or when the sun sets, that’s why artificial lighting comes to play. Some of us remember the fluorescent lighting bulbs, stretched along the ceilings in the form of tubes in the offices of the earlier generations, and the characteristic sound they produced. You would need to subconsciously prepare for turning them on because one needs adjusting to the unpleasantly bright light they omitted.
Luckily, the modern offices (almost completely) eradicated the use of fluorescent lighting systems. This is a good decision and one that entrepreneurs and heads of companies need to heed to. This is because people have reported a stress response due to the fluorescent lights’ color stimulating various parts of the brain that involve biorhythm, emotions, stress hormones, muscle tension, etc.
LED lighting and a healthier work environment
Since we cannot always work only while it’s daylight, we need artificial light – that much is clear, just as the fact that fluorescent lighting systems should be avoided. Instead, you should introduce LED lighting which has slowly become the standard for quality lighting. This is because, first and foremost, LED bulbs use significantly less energy and last much longer than incandescent lighting bulbs.
As a person in charge of a business, you need to see that good lighting becomes a working environment standard and that can be achieved by introducing LED as a solution. This means that your choice of a LED lighting manufacturer is more than a financial decision but one that also greatly affects the health of your employees. Proper lighting that has been appropriately positioned can help reduce the risk of injury, fatigue, and eye strain from the computer screen glare which are all things to have in mind.
Different shades for different moods
Now that we covered the importance of light and the best type, it is time to talk about details – namely, the shades. Just try to evoke the memory of dozing off when you should have been studying because the only decent source of light in a poorly lit library was a table lamp.
What you should bear in mind is that different shades of light have a different effect on people and the best way to go about it is to ensure that each room has appropriate lighting. For instance, while the main working space needs to be brightly lit so that employees can remain alert, the canteen could use a calming yellowish hue. As for the office break room, it should be somewhere in the middle, white-yellow, so that your employees are gently eased into space.
Table lamps as a last resort
Table lamps are not a bad choice on its own but they definitely shouldn’t be your employees’ main source of light, unless you don’t have an issue with them developing long-term problems with their eye-sight, migraines, back pain (from constantly leaning towards the screen so they can see), etc.
So, strive for all employees to have plenty of overhead light and if you have some parts of the office which are a bit darker and that aren’t used that often, you should add some table lamps. Also, some employees might just prefer a small lamp to create a pleasant light diffusion behind their computers’ screens and to prevent glare.
Over to you
Beyond a reasonable doubt, the workspace lighting is definitely an element worth keeping a chunk of infrastructure investment for, because it influences the health, productivity level, as well as the mood of your employees. Let’s light their working lives and your fortunes.