Over their lifetime, the average office worker will spend around ten total years at work. That’s ten years in a space that should promote a healthy dose of work productivity as well as mental and physical wellbeing which, surprisingly, can be impacted by something as simple as the lighting installed in the room. But how does this work?
It all comes down to the body’s circadian rhythm and the hormones involved which monitors when to sleep and when to stay awake. The circadian rhythm is largely influenced by the light it receives through our eyes which, throughout time, has come from the sun – we are more awake during the day compared to the darker hours of the night.
With office space, however, the amount of natural light coming into it isn’t always suitable for maintaining our bodies’ natural cycle, which is where the use of artificial sources like LEDs come in handy in mimicking the natural light of the sun.
LEDs can mirror the colour temperature and brightness of natural light within an office space so that workers can continue without disturbing their circadian rhythm and allowing them to stay alert and focused.
If the lighting in an office is too dim, it risks people within becoming fatigued too quickly as their body adjusts to a darker environment. Contrastingly, if the lighting is too bright then it can cause eye strain. LEDs are an ideal solution to this as they can be dimmed and controlled to a point that suits the needs of the people inside the room.
LEDs are also unique in their ability to change colours on demand. Colour temperature of LEDs can be just as important to the productivity and wellbeing of workers as the brightness of the light, as our brains react in different ways to different lighting colours.
Blue light is a ‘cooler’ colour temperature that stimulates our brains the most into staying awake. It has become synonymous with the rise of technology within our bedrooms and is pointed at as a main cause for insomnia around the world, as more and more people take their technology into bed with them.
Utilising blue light in our offices can keep our brains stimulated and employees active as it is essentially a way of mimicking the daylight that our bodies are so used to staying awake to.
This isn’t to say that warmer light tones aren’t useful in the office. Whilst blue and cooler LEDs are helpful for stimulating and invigorating employees for situations like brainstorming meetings, warmer LEDs can help provide a feeling of comfort and relaxation, perhaps during a lunch break or another more social context.
This shouldn’t be confused with dimmer lighting in an office environment, as this can be just as damaging as lighting that is too harsh. Whilst bright lighting can strain the eyes, dim lighting can be very unstimulating to the brain and can result in fatigue, lethargy, and eventually low motivation and possibly depression.
When it comes to suitable office lighting, the needs and wellbeing of employees should come before anything else and the ability of LEDs to be controlled and dimmed remotely allows employers to balance these needs to a greater degree, creating happy, motivated, and productive workers.
So, what is the right level of illumination for office lighting in a study? The European standard published in 2002 provides practical guidance on lighting of indoor spaces, and it suggests that a work area should be illuminated with around 500 lux (which can be achieved by both desk lamps for the immediate work area as well as LED office ceiling lights).
As we’re talking about lighting here, it’s easy to just consider the visual effects that they have on those within an office space, but if you’ve been around traditional halogen or incandescent lighting for long enough, then you’ll know that these lights can also produce an audibly noticeable noise after long enough in their lifespan.
Most incandescent lights are commonly noted to produce a buzzing sound during power shifts and fluctuations, and in an office setting this harsh sound can easily break concentration within an office and disrupt workflow.
Naturally, LEDs do not have this issue attached to them so not only do they improve your visual environment, they can also provide a more relaxing and work-conducive environment for your ears too.
Whilst we’re on the topic of workers’ physical health, those who struggle with headaches and migraines can be affected by the flickering that plagues traditional lighting once they begin to reach the end of their lifespan. Although it’s generally imperceptible to the naked eye, flickering fluorescent lighting is a major migraine trigger for many unfortunate office workers and some estimations put the cost of work-related headache disorders at around £7bn, with about 25m working days lost because of them.
If you’re an employer who hears all too often about your employees suffering from headaches and migraines, then take some time to check out if you have appropriate overhead lighting like LEDs in your office, it might just save them lots of pain and you thousands in lost working hours.
All of what has been mentioned so far can be attributed to the increasing phenomenon of working from home. Just like in an office, you should ensure that your home workspace is lit well enough to maintain concentration and stave off bad physical side effects…
Whilst ceiling-mounted lighting is popular for use in offices, when you’re working from home and it’s just you in your workspace, a lamp is much more suitable. Desk lamps are good flexible solutions for work lighting as they can be adjusted and angled to where they are needed most depending on what you’re reading and the level of natural light in the room throughout the day, and if the desk lamp is LED then you can make sure you’re making your home office 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: Why cheap labour will cost you more eventually