Did you know the average person who works in an office will spend around a decade at their place of work?
Big numbers, right? And with that much time spent in one place, it should be that they promote a good amount of productivity on top of mental and physical wellbeing and whether you knew it or not, the lighting involved at your place of work can have a big impact on this. But how does this work?
The long and short of it is to do with something in our bodies called the circadian rhythm. As well as a host of hormones, these monitor the body’s ability to sleep and stay awake, and it’s largely influenced by the brain’s exposure to light received through our eyes.
Throughout history, the light we perceive has come solely from the sun or other natural sources like fire, meaning we are more awake during the day – when the sun is up – compared to the darker hours of the night.
What’s different nowadays, however, is that the light coming into our eyes comes from artificial sources. These aren’t always suitable for maintaining our bodies’ natural circadian rhythm. This is where the use of artificial lights like LEDs come in as they are known to mimic the natural light of the sun.
If you didn’t already know, LEDs can actually be set to the same colour temperature and brightness of natural light within an office space in a way that doesn’t disturb the circadian rhythm of the workers within it, allowing them to stay focused and alert.
If the lighting in a room is too dim, it risks people within becoming fatigued quickly as their body adjusts to darker environments. On the other hand, if the lighting is too bright then it can cause eye strain. LEDs are a great option as they can be dimmed and controlled in a way that suits the room’s occupiers.
LEDs can also change colours on demand which is important because colour temperature can be just as important to productivity and wellbeing as its brightness because our brains also react in different ways to different lighting colours.
For example, blue light – a ‘cooler’ colour temperature that stimulates our brains in a way that helps us stay awake. You’ve probably heard of ‘blue light’ from the thousands of articles online talking about how the blue light from our phones and electronic devices are keeping us awake and ruining our sleep quality.
Outside of the bedroom, however, utilising blue light in our offices can keep us stimulated and active, invigorating employees for brainstorming and meetings, whereas warmer LEDs can help provide a sense of relaxation and comfort during a lunch break or other social context.
Warm LED lighting shouldn’t be confused with dim LED light, however, as lighting that is too dim can be just as damaging to our eyes as lighting that is too harsh. Bright lighting can strain our eyes but dim lighting can relax our eyes in a way that creates fatigue, low motivation and even depression in rare cases.
When it comes to suitable office lighting, the needs of workers should come before anything else, and with the ability to control and dim LEDS remotely, this allows employers to balance these needs to a greater degree for happier, more motivated and productive workers.
So where does this balance appear? How much illumination is appropriate for office lighting? The European standard published a practical guide on lighting indoor spaces in 2002, suggesting that a work area should be lit with around 500 lux.
It’s easy to consider the visual effects that lights have on those within an office space, but if you’ve been around traditional halogen or incandescent lighting for long enough then you will know that these lights can often produce a noticeable background noise after enough time in their lifespan.
In fact, most traditional lights are noted to produce these buzzing noises, especially during power shifts and fluctuations, and in an office setting this harsh sound can easily break concentration within an office an disrupt workflow.
As they have different technological components, LEDs do no have this issue attached to them so they improve your visual environment as well as a more work-conducive environment for your ears too.
Similarly, those who struggle with headaches and migraines can be affected by this kind of flickering. Although it’s generally not seen by the naked eye, flickering from incandescent lighting can be a major cause of migraines for unfortunate office workers. Some estimations put the cost of work-related headache disorders at around £7bn, with nearly a month worth of working days lost because of them.
If you’re an employer who hears all too often about your workers suffering from headaches, it might be worth looking into overhead lighting like LEDs in your workspace – it might just save them lots of pain and thousands in lost working hours.
All of what has been mentioned so far can be attributed to the increasing case of working from home. Just like in an office, you should ensure that your home workspace is well lit to maintain concentration and stave off bad physical side effects.
Whilst ceiling lights is popular for office use, when it comes to WFH, a lamp is much more suitable. Desk lamps are a good solution for work lighting as they can be adjusted to where they’re needed the most depending on what you’re reading and the level of natural light throughout the day. If the desk lamp is LED then you can make sure you’re making your home office is cost efficient.
As discussed in a previous Cube Lighting blog post, LEDs can last up to 50x longer than standard lighting because most of their energy is put towards emitting light without less waste energy like heat like so many other lights do. From a purely economic angle, LEDs with their longer life span are a much more cost effective investment over time for an office space than their traditional counterparts.
Ready to take the step into the future of lighting? Contact Cube Lighting & Design here to see if you qualify for free LED lighting!
Want to keep reading? Check out our latest blog post here: Boost your skincare routine with LEDs