6 lighting hacks for healthier,more productive workplaces
It’s summer and there’s light all around us — we take it for granted till those dark winter months come along. The sheer lack of sunlight can be depressing. Every year we encounter this longing for summer,craving those long,bright days when we feel energetic and in a fantastic mood. The sad news is,we have again passed the longest day of 2015,but the great news is that the right artificial lighting in your workplace can help you through. Good lighting creates pleasant working conditions in a functional and atmospheric way. Satisfaction and efficiency will improve if you be sure you have enough daylight intake and a well-lit office space. Artificial lighting that doesn’t just help you see,but also meets your biological lighting requirements,is the future of office lighting. Here are six lighting hacks to keep you healthy and alert through these dark winter days.
|modern office lighting|
1 Produce atmospheres where your thoughts can develop
We’re all attracted to light,and there isn’t any other medium that has as big an influence on our bodies and minds as mild. Both daylight and artificial light play an integral role in our health and wellbeing. Increasingly,companies face the question of how they can improve staff wellbeing and generate a lively,creative and motivating environment. The research shows that in businesses with a high standard of interior design,productivity can increase by up to 36 percent. Who would not like to see their efficiency skyrocket? Additionally,comprehensive research from the Light Right Consortium,arrived at the conclusion that light increases productivity. Only around 70 percent of the interviewees said that working at workstations with only downward lighting was comfortable. In contrast,91 per cent saw a lighting atmosphere with direct/indirect lighting and a high quantity of vertical lit surfaces pleasing. Furthermore,if the desk light is independently controllable,people feel motivated and operate with greater precision. TIP: Create a lighting atmosphere with indirect and direct lighting. Avoid having only downwards-directed illumination.
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Two Light for people,not just jobs
Lighting is often just seen as a requirement to enable us to see,but in fact it has many more qualities than the obvious ones. We should move away from just thinking of lighting for jobs and focus on creating light settings for people. Today,most people work indoors,and spends almost the whole day inside,in an unnaturally dark setting. Our light intake is liable for feeling and sleeping well,and affects our productivity. When there’s a shortage of natural light to help us tell the exact time of day,then our circadian rhythm (body clock) loses its pace,with tiredness and listlessness as a result. We constantly find ourselves surrounded by light. It’s much more than just lighting. When this knowledge transcends into our built environment,pleasant atmospheres are created. Think of a trip to a theater,a restaurant,or nightclub. These experiences are shaped by light. Good lighting enhances the mood and desirability of spaces,consequently contributing to people’s sense of wellbeing. Every building and space expresses and communicates an identity,and sometimes also a corporate value. Superior lighting should be a part of this,because what other component can enhance an atmosphere as much as light can? TIP: Produce a mixture of different lighting. This will guarantee flexible change of light setting. Use illumination that affirms a space’s individuality
3 From homo sapiens to homo officunus
In today’s world,we spend many hours working in biotopes — environment created by humans. Instead of trying to adapt ourselves to our own creations,we should adapt these biotopes to our own requirements. Sufficient light is one of these needs. So how can you make a setting that increases your satisfaction and productivity? Here are a few tips: Take the biological quality of lighting into account. Light synchronises the circadian rhythm. It influences our sleep-wake cycle and this has a big influence on the health and productivity. Adapt the lighting to the daytime and year,as well concerning the individual needs of the user. Vertical surface lighting,preferably on large wall surfaces,is vital to create a sense of space and depth. Additionally,it gives a visual resting stage for the eyes and adds a nice atmosphere to the working environment. Too frequently,office environments are insufficiently lit,not only from the perspective of biological lighting demands but also from an architectural one,where the space feels smaller due to insufficient lighting. The chart below shows how office workers analyzed their working environments — revealing which aspects are important to them and how satisfied they are with each aspect. As you can see,lighting is rated the most important of all of the aspects mentioned,but there’s loads of space for it to improve.
4 Get the best spot in the house
Are you based at a co-working space? Choosing the ideal spot in the home can go a long way. Pick a place with a great deal of daylight. It’s recommended that around three percent daylight reaches a person’s working area. However,in most offices this isn’t the case. Daylight provides an emotional quality to some space and the option to look out is an additional bonus. If you can,choose a spot near the window. But make sure there is sun shading to stop harsh reflections on your computer screen. TIP: Take the window seat,north,west or east facing
5 Light against the blues
About 80 percent of information is taken in through our eyes. Until recently it was believed that our eyes used two types of photoreceptors — rods and cones — to obtain light,but a decade ago,a third type,called ganglion cells,was discovered. Unlike rods and cones,these cells do not contribute directly to our sight; they’re nevertheless light dependent and help to modulate our circadian rhythm. So light isn’t simply a requirement for viewing,but is also an important zeitgeber (timer) and a regulator for our bodies. Unfortunately,we often don’t get the light consumption we really need,especially during the darker time of the year,resulting in the winter blues or seasonal affective disorder (SAD) — a type of depression associated with a lack of light. It leaves people feeling moody and lacking energy. Many people who suffer from SAD benefit from bright light therapy. In a workplace setting,light treatment makes people feel more awake and energized. It’s found that an illumination that goes up to 2000 lux at the working place in the morning and the day,reduces the physiological reaction of anxiety and provides an energising effect to the body. If you want to check the amount of lux at your desk, download a lux meter program. It’s not very precise,but it gives you an idea on how little light we really have indoors. Not only is a greater quantity of light required,but also the color temperature of the lighting plays a role. At noon the sky’s colour is a very cool 10000K but at sunset it is a far warmer 2000K. Additionally lighting should reflect indirectly into the eyes from large surfaces,like walls and ceilings. TIP: Try to catch enough daylight at any time of the year. Go outside for a break,get off a stop earlier from the subway and walk the rest of the way into the office. You should have at least half an hour of daylight a day
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A deadline and a great deal of work beforehand,no time to sleep! As lighting can disrupt your sleeping routine,it may also boost your activity. If you have followed the above-mentioned advice for biologically effective lighting than you are already on the right path. If you need to pull an all-nighter,increase the light intensity and the amount of bluish white light in the room. Almost done with your work? Change the setting to warm,low-intensity lighting,which will calm you down. You might also have experienced that when you work late on a computer or pill it is tough to sleep afterwards. The cause of this is that the high blue content of the backlit screens. Blue light at night triggers an out-of-phase circadian rhythm,and is a health hazard. So use this lighting hack consciously. There are a number of applications you can install that correlate the display’s brightness and color,to the daylight of your location. F.lux,for instance,works on most systems,or the Twilight program lowers the amount of blue lighting on your own Android phone. TIP: Have different lamp types and color temperatures at your working area. Warm light sources at your desk can be combined with indirect and general lighting with different color temperatures,for example 3500K and 5000K.