As you read this, take a look around yourself. How many sources of light can you see? Are you surrounded by artificial lighting or is your space predominantly flooded by natural light? How do you feel as you look at the lights around you? How do you feel when you look away from them?
As human beings, our life cycles are connected to the light in the world around us. It is through the photoreceptors located within our bodies that we process the light in our surroundings and the light we absorb has a knock-on impact on how we function, feel and perform.
Contemporary research and studies are beginning to shed more light on the way that lighting’s colour temperature, intensity and quality influence our general mood as well as our creativity and productivity in the workplace.
Flicking the switch on the daily grind
The average full-time employee in the United Kingdom will spend roughly 2000 hours of their year in the workplace. That’s a quarter of the year exposed to office lighting and a quarter of a year having your attention span, daily routine and mood influenced by office lighting design.
For human beings, there is a significant link between lighting and circadian rhythms (physical, mental, and behavioural changes that follow a daily cycle). This internalised ‘body clock’ regulates our sleep cycle, relaxation, and stimulation.
Light levels also directly influence mood and energy and poor lighting is known to fuel deficiencies. The temperature and brightness of lighting can adjust concentration, appetite, mood, and many other aspects of daily life. With such an impact from something humans are constantly subjected to, it’s important to ensure office lighting maximises employee welfare and supports healthy illumination.
Blue light to shift that blue feeling
Light is measured in frequencies. The frequency of visible light is referred to as colour, and the measurement for this colour spectrum ranges from 430 trillion hertz (red) to 750 trillion hertz (violet). Natural light is centred around frequencies all over the spectrum, including those that produce the colour blue.
In colour temperature (Kelvins) terms, red is seen at about 1000K (candlelight) and the blues we absorb from daylight begin at >5000K. In an office, natural lighting is harder to control but it will favour an office to utilise what it can. If you want to make a lighting leap with the productivity in your workspace, you will have to harness everchanging natural light.
‘Blue light’ keeps the mind awake. It’s why we can’t sleep when we’re outside and in bright daylight. It’s why phones have ‘night’ modes that remove blue frequencies to settle the woken brain. When we are exposed to brighter light with more blue frequencies, the brain is less likely to grow tired.
It’s well-known that people are more active and overall happier in the summer months and this is linked to the longer days and sunshine. Recreating this little slice of summer all year round in an office is just a matter of intelligent lighting design to get your employees feeling a certain way.
Cooler light and higher colour temperatures make employees more productive and enhance their mental activity. If we’re talking science, it has a lot to do with melatonin (the sleep-wake cycle hormone) and how in bright light, bodies reduce production and make humans less sleepy.
However, as the working day goes on, natural light gradually decreases in colour temperature and becomes much warmer. By using the latest LED technology, managers and employees can take control of the intensity, duration and timing of lighting.
Human-centric lighting with employees in mind
Too much or too little light can lead to many issues in the workplace. Dim lighting or a lack of light can lead to fatigue, lethargy, depression and low motivation levels. However, don’t overcompensate because harsh lighting can lead to an inability to focus and painful migraines.
Combined or alone, these issues can lead to disruptive downtime and unhappy employees. Bad and unbalanced lighting results in lengthy absences and we don’t just mean physically. Presenteeism is an issue that can be directly linked back to bad lighting and discomfort in the workplace.
Once upon a time, contractors and designers would simply light for the job that needed to be done. Now, everyone should be thinking about the person doing the job too. Whether it’s performing activities, relaxing during breaks or moving safely around the building, the mental and physical welfare of the employee should always dictate the lighting.
Human controlled lighting and lighting solutions tailored to the individual needs of people have a considerable capability to enhance employees’ work satisfaction and retention.
Not just a filament of the imagination
As bad lighting can lead to so many issues with employees, it’s important to invest time and money in good lighting design throughout an office. A conscious and focused approach to every room and task is the only way to ensure you’ll be maximising efficiency and productivity in your workplace.
If you can’t let the natural light in, then select lighting that mimics the soft, natural feeling of daylight and that can adapt with the day. Take control, or let your employees, of how your lighting feels, looks and acts.
Blue or cooler lights in collaborative, brainstorming rooms can invigorate employees and boost their brainpower. Warmer luminaires provide a feeling of comfort and allow employees to relax. Middle tones and temperatures are ideal for conference rooms where it needs to feel friendly and inviting but must also keep employees and visitors alert and motivated.
Alertness and motivation will boost the core productivity of your business and drive you forward. The benefits of using intelligent LED lighting aren’t solely linked to the individual either. By using intelligent and controllable lighting, your business can save money and look better by saving big on energy usage.
Make sure that you involve a lighting designer in your interior design as soon as possible. One of the biggest mistakes during the office design process is the exclusion of lighting designers at the initial stage. Companies believe this will save them money but it can actually incur substantial losses of time and money on the whole project. Failing to consider proper lighting design can require ‘completed’ building works to need changing and adjusting to factor in the correct lighting which will increase expenses and prolong project finalisation dates.
Lighting designed for lumen beings…
Just like a growing sapling or a sweet little desk plant, human beings need light to thrive. Lighting design can help offices improve employee welfare and activity every single day.
Mount Lighting are a diverse bunch of creative designers and technical engineers that work closely side-by-side. Our common desire to provide you with impeccable service from concept through to delivery drives our productivity and our fantastic lighting ranges help us succeed.