What Lighting is Best For Offices?
When you walk into the workplace on a Monday morning, you want to be met with a bright, welcoming environment.
Natural lighting, whether through windows or a sky-light, can be a great way to achieve this. Not only can it boost productivity, but it can also have significant effects on physical and mental health. On the contrary, dull, dimly lit offices can be tiring, demotivating and harm wellbeing.
So how important is lighting? A study published in ‘The Responsible Workplace’ estimates that windows are the primary determinant of workers’ satisfaction in a building. In this article, we explore the benefits of natural light vs. artificial light to find out what’s the best office lighting option for you.
The benefits of natural light in the workplace
- Better mental and physical health
Research suggests natural light in the office boosts health. In fact, according to a study by Alan Hedge from Cornell University, workers in environments with natural light reported up to 84% fewer eye problems and headaches. In addition, natural light boosts Vitamin D storage which can help prevent heart disease, some types of cancers and depression.
There is also significant evidence that natural light can have positive effects on your mood. Sufficient levels of natural light in the workplace can ward off seasonal depression and increase serotonin production in the brain.
- Increase in productivity
Healthy office lighting creates a pleasant and mentally stimulating environment. Natural light in the workplace thus improves productivity through various channels. Firstly, workers with fewer health problems such as eye strain and headaches are more likely to get larger amounts of work done. Research also suggests having the ideal amount of natural lighting can lead to a better night’s sleep, which in turn affects productivity. One study found that checkout workers showed 40% higher sales when working under a skylight.
Of course, it is important to consider that you can have too much natural light. If your office is too bright you will see the same problems as when it’s dimly lit, namely eye discomfort, difficulty concentrating and migraines.
Natural lighting for offices
For many office managers, the upfront costs associated with renovating lighting options can seem daunting. However, keep in mind that these are likely to be a worthy investment and quickly offset by increases in workers’ efficiency. It can be difficult to achieve healthy office lighting. However, there are a few things you can do to improve the levels of natural light. These include:
i. Change the doors and windows
If it’s a possibility, the easiest and most effective way to get more natural lighting is to consider getting bigger windows, and lots of them.
ii. Re-organise working areas
Change the desks around to maximise natural light in the office. Make sure that the light reaches as many desks as possible rather than a few lucky ones.
iii. Add mirrors
Mirrors reflect light from outside, brightening up the room and making it seem bigger. Simply place large mirrors opposite to windows and in dark corners for an instant makeover.
With Australians spending up to 90% of their time indoors, having optimal levels of natural light is crucial for productivity, mental and physical health. While office environments can pose significant challenges, there are many things you can do to improve poorly lit spaces and reap the benefits of natural light in the workplace.