Effectively lit and attractive environments enhance your image, help you recruit and retain high-value employees, and increase the total value of your facility.
Lighting in workplaces, offices and industrial spaces has a profound effect on the well-being and productivity of all workers. Dimly lit offices have an impact on employee’s efficiency with low levels of light affecting peoples' alertness and causing health issues such as eyestrain and headaches.
At the other end of the scale, lighting which is too bright can trigger migraines and also causes eyestrain as the eye needs to work harder to focus in bright light.
Getting the balance of light right can have a major impact on a person’s health.
With this in mind, here are 20six's top tips to help you get your office lighting levels spot on.
How To Get Your Office Lighting Right:
Go Au Naturel: The problem with sun light is that it is, well, so bright. Bright light and computer screens don't tend to work well together. If, however, you are an architect or a designer who works more on sheets and paper instead of tech gadgets, then a flood of natural light is a welcome addition. Natural light remains important to our circadian rhythm, so where possible use natural light in a controlled fashion to enhance and compliment the artificial illumination. By aligning desks and workstations in the north or south directions the natural light won't create unwanted shadows or glare on computer screens.
Fluorescent Flickering: Whilst natural light is not always an option, if you have inherited fluorescent strips it's time to consider an upgrade. They may appear cost effective on the surface as the bulbs are long lasting, but fluorescent lighting can result in negative health issues to employees, causing headaches, migraines and eye problems. If your office has fluorescent tubes consider upgrading to LED tubes, which flicker less, and can save money in the long term*.
An Air Of Ambience: Where possible you need to think of your office lighting design in terms of layers. Your main overhead lighting will provide the base, your individual task lighting gives you independent functionality and accent lighting adds an air of ambience. Each layer needs to be at a different level to ensure that one does not interfere with or overwhelm the other.
Lighten Your Finances: By sticking with what you've got and not updating your office lighting systems to more efficient models you could be out of pocket. With an estimated 80% of lighting used in buildings being classed as old technology (by which we mean ‘static’ office lighting controlled by one switch) most offices are stuck with either all on or all off. Illuminating unoccupied spaces is just throwing money out the window and a more efficient way to light the office is to use lighting control systems.
Step Out Of The Light: It's not all about the lighting systems you have. We have already referred to the positioning of work stations and desks, but it is also worth making your office décor as light as your company branding will allow. Dark fittings and fixtures will absorb light and thus make the artificial lighting work harder, costing you more money. A well organised, clean and tidy office says to employees and clients that you are in control of your environment, your tasks, your workload. And it also plays a part in the effectiveness of the office lighting. For example, having your windows regularly cleaned will enhance the free, natural light coming through.
Your office lighting levels are important on the health and well-being of your employees, on the impressions that you make on your clients, and a contributory factor on your electricity bills, which is why it is important that you consider your office lighting in your overall office design plans.
*a large office using 300 fluorescent tubes running for 7 hours a day could save £2,529 a year by converting to LED tubes.