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  • Writer's pictureBrian Trimble

Office Lighting’s Effect on Productivity

When it comes to boosting productivity, there are several elements that everyone is aware of, but there is one that is frequently overlooked: lighting. Reading in the dark may be harmful to your eyes. Still, lighting impacts go far beyond that, and an employer's choice of lighting can considerably influence the company's efficiency.

One of the essential components in workplace wellbeing is proper lighting. Even a decade ago, some viewed opinions about the importance of this field with skepticism. To the relief of many office workers who spend long hours in cramped areas, optimal lighting is no less than science nowadays.

Ways Office Lighting Can Affect Productivity

Office lighting has been shown to have a significant impact on productivity, according to several studies. It can affect productivity for a variety of factors, some of which are listed below.

Healthy Work Environment

Workplace health and safety are a top priority for every business. This is a factor in creating a positive working environment. The working environment strongly influences the public image a company offers to its workers.

These points are quickly communicated in an era of near-instantaneous connection and communication. One of the most crucial parts of workplace wellbeing is good lighting. Lighting in the workplace impacts workers both physically and mentally.

Physical symptoms include headaches and wet eyes, but prolonged exposure to low light levels may also have psychological effects. Inadequate lighting in the workplace has been associated with increased irritation, anxiety, and even depression among workers. Investing time, effort, and money in this area helps ensure that your staff will be happier and more creative.

Lift in Employees' Moods

Employees in an office environment are generally restricted to each one’s workstations. In the best of individuals, unpleasant moods and negativity may result from these situations. Even while moving about and taking regular breaks are often suggested as remedies, the impact that adequate lighting may have is generally overlooked.

Positive responses to light have been built into the human brain. The same logic applies to artificially illuminated workplace settings. As a matter of fact, a happy and content employee will contribute more to a company's success.

Growth in a Healthy Workplace

Improved lighting may have a massive impact on employee attendance, health, creativity, and productivity. That is to say, despite little or no external or internal change, the profit levels of the number of businesses have increased.

When an organization is in strong financial condition, this will be reflected in more new ideas and improvements to its infrastructure. It will all end up being good for the workers as well. It's a good cycle that benefits everyone involved.

Improved Efficiency

The importance of appropriate lighting in enhancing productivity has been studied extensively. There has been significant research into this element of office space by numerous companies themselves.

Bright lights improve productivity. People are in a good mood and full of energy when they first arrive for work each day because of the natural bright light outside.

As the day goes on, exhaustion and the rigors of work take their toll on workers. After a long day at work, everyone feels drained and tired, and added to that is the darkness that slowly reduces lighting in rooms. Sluggish mental activity and slow bodily processes are standard at this time of day.

How to Recognize the Slight Differences in Lighting

Color Temperature, a phrase used to define an artificial light source's look and “feel” (or mood), is essential for recognizing light. Kelvin is expressed as a temperature difference. In most cases, artificial lights' Kelvin temperatures vary between 2,000 and 6,500K.

The adjectives "warm" and "cold" commonly describe a light source's hue or color temperature. Contrary to popular belief, the “cool” or “cold” tone is applied to higher light color temperatures, whereas the “warm” tone is used for lower ones. A good analogy is to see a chunk of steel being heated up. As the metal gets hotter and hotter, it will turn red, orange, and white, and finally, it generates a bluish-white hue.

Greater use of high-temperature lighting has been shown to increase workplace productivity. It can even counteract the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This condition affects up to 14% of all adult workers and is associated with lower levels of natural light during the winter months.

Let's take a look at the color temperatures of the light sources:

● Colors that are referred to as cool or daylight and appear blue-white are described as higher color temperatures (4,600K or more).

● Color temperatures in the mid-range (3,100K–4,600K) produce a cool white hue.

● Warm hues have lower color temperatures (up to 3,000K) and vary from red to yellowish-white.

Types of Office Lighting

More than just being able to see what's on your desk, the illumination in your office may make or break the productivity of your employees. As a result, specific criteria must be met for office lighting to be a success.

There are several primary kinds of lighting often used in offices: fluorescent, LED, natural, dim, and incandescent lighting.

Fluorescent Lighting

In most circumstances, fluorescent lighting lasts more than 20 times longer than incandescent. It also burns more relaxed and efficiently with a greater lumen output than its predecessors.

However, fluorescent/CFL lamps have many drawbacks. They are more susceptible to flickering than other choices because they utilize mercury, which is difficult to dispose of.

These lights may provide a broad range of lighting. T8 and T5 fluorescent tubes, which are simple to install and replace in offices, are the most popular types.

LED Lights

For various reasons, office lighting is often seen as the most acceptable option. They use minimal power and provide a high lumen output while operating at the lowest possible temperature.

In the long run, LEDs save employers money since they are more energy-efficient and last far longer than the other two options. Tubes, bulbs, rope lighting, and different LED lighting are all excellent choices for workplace lighting.

When deciding on the best form of office lighting, consider the location's budget, energy usage, and desired output. Choose one that best suits your needs, then research the most appropriate models for your region.

Natural Lights

Several studies have found that natural light induces a productive environment. A workspace should be arranged so that workers can take advantage of natural light as much as possible during the daytime. Because of the benefits of natural lighting, employees report less stress and better vision.

Also, natural light is not realistic for night shifts because it is impossible to sustain the same density and amount of light throughout the workday. Thus, using this kind of light is recommended to foster a creative and productive work environment.

Dim Lights

For employees who need a breather from stress at work, dim lighting is ideal since it generates a feeling of comfort and relaxation. But a primary work location with dark illumination might lead to headaches and decreased eyesight if the lighting isn't adequate.

Incandescent Lights

In terms of workplace lighting, this is the least impressive. You may find this sort of light in earlier models of light fixtures. At higher temperatures, incandescent bulbs use more energy and last a shorter time on average than the other two options. The primary advantage of this type of lighting is that it reaches its maximum brightness output quicker than fluorescent lights.

Furthermore, tungsten filaments are non-hazardous, unlike fluorescent bulbs that contain mercury, which is harmful to the environment. This makes it more ecologically friendly than a fluorescent light. For this reason, incandescent bulbs are more often used for accent or task lighting than for general illumination.

Implications of Inadequate Office Lighting

The following are among the things to keep in mind when prioritizing workplace lighting.

Lack of Sleep or Sleep Deprivation

Our body has a circadian rhythm that reacts to natural sunlight throughout the day. And if organizations could recreate such lighting during office time, employees would be more focused. Thus, it improves their sleep quality at night, resulting in longer, more restful evenings and more productive days.

Strain or Blurry Eyes

Computer workers who spend long periods staring at a screen may get eye damage due to poor office lighting conditions. The presence of this irritating combination could hamper one's ability to focus.


Health conditions like migraines are often caused by a lack of adequate lighting in the workplace. Employees who suffer from this sickness at work may be less productive or focused due to discomfort. If one employee cannot work because of a health issue, it could impact the company's overall output.

Physical Strain or Fatigue

Interruptions like watching films online, playing games, checking social media, or playing music are frequent among sleepy or exhausted personnel. Even if an employee's motivation is boosted by using an alternative lighting scheme, it is still possible for them to become bored. Hence, increasing your exposure to natural light will be the only way out of this position.

Tips on Improving Lighting in Your Office

According to an American Society of Interior Design Associates survey, many employees have a problem with the lighting at their workplace. Artificial and natural lighting must be balanced in the office to give the best possible environment for your employees. It would be best if you tailored the lighting in your office to meet the specific needs of your workplace and employees.

Moreover, arranging the furniture allows employees to access artificial and natural light. Create an environment where workers face the opposite direction of artificial lights. As a result, the amount of time your employees are exposed to artificial light may be reduced.

With that, you can use these simple office lighting suggestions for your office to be a more enjoyable and productive workplace.

Install Cool Lighting Temperature Bulbs

The color of a light bulb has nothing to do with how hot it gets; instead, the term "cool" describes its appearance. Many people prefer warm light when it comes to lighting inside the home. Such a preferred option may be a part of the rosy light of candles and kerosene lanterns that once dominated ambient light.

Conversely, studies have shown that office productivity significantly increases when exposed to cool light – and the cooler the lighting, the better. Utilizing super-cool "blue-enriched" bulbs with a Kelvin rating of 17,000 has been demonstrated to significantly boost mental sharpness while simultaneously reducing eye strain and weariness. Workers who perform in cool light indicate that they are happier and more focused due to the light.

Replace Fluorescent Bulbs with LEDs

The low cost of fluorescent lighting made it a popular choice for office use. On the other hand, LEDs are far more cost-effective in the long term because they are much less costly to install than incandescent bulbs. There is no need to replace them as frequently as fluorescent lights due to their lower wattage consumption and longer life expectancy.

Use a Smart Digital Lighting Control System

All offices need illumination, even if it's just natural light from the sun. However, every office requires office lights as well. With a daylight sensor, you can make the most of the natural light in your workspace. Such a gadget can save office lighting expenditures by anywhere from 20% to 60% by automatically turning lights on and off as needed.

Besides that, the bulb and other lighting devices will have a longer life expectancy by programming light cycles. This also contributes to creating the appropriate atmosphere. A high-quality system will allow you to adjust to over- or under-illuminated areas.

Using a professional lighting control system in a workplace with so many natural lights allows you to regulate the natural light, control glare, and reduce lighting problems, enabling your staff to benefit from natural light without over-illuminating the space.

Eliminate the Obnoxious Lighting

Your staff and clients should not be subjected to irritating or unpleasant surroundings by your workplace lighting. Using steady, quiet lights like LED bulbs instead of vibrating ballasts and flickering bulbs will increase your employees' productivity.

Key Takeaways

Employees are motivated by various factors, including the company's ambient and comfortable environment like lighting. Following these suggestions and information, you can comprehensively picture how workplace lighting might improve employee productivity.

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