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 together. The sheer lack of sunlight can be depressing. Every year we experience this longing for summer,craving those long,bright days when we feel energetic and in a good mood. The sad news is,we’ve again passed the longest day of 2015,but the good news is that the right artificial lighting in your office can help you through. Very good lighting creates pleasant working conditions in a functional and atmospheric way. Satisfaction and efficiency will improve if you make sure you have enough daylight intake and a well-lit office area. Plus,your productivity will be positively affected by well-designed illumination. Artificial lighting that doesn’t just help you view,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 those dark winter days.
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1 Produce atmospheres where your thoughts can develop
We are all attracted to light,and there is not any other medium that’s as large an influence on our bodies and minds as mild. Both daylight and artificial light play a key role in our health and wellbeing. Increasingly,companies face the question of how they could improve staff wellbeing and create a lively,creative and motivating atmosphere. The design of the office area plays a vital role,as evidenced by a study from Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering. The research shows that in businesses with a high standard of interior design,productivity can increase by up to 36 percent. Who wouldn’t 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 stated that working at workstations with only downward lighting was comfy. 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 lighting is individually controllable,people feel motivated and operate with greater precision. TIP: Create a lighting atmosphere with direct and indirect lighting. Avoid having only downwards-directed illumination.
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2 Light for people,not just jobs
Lighting is often just seen as a necessity 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 producing light settings for people. Today,most men and women work inside,and spends nearly the whole day indoors,in an unnaturally dark setting. Our light intake is liable for sleeping and feeling well,and affects our productivity. When there is a shortage of natural light to help us tell the time of day,then our circadian rhythm (body clock) loses its pace,with tiredness and listlessness because of this. We constantly find ourselves surrounded by light. It is much more than just illumination. If this knowledge transcends into our built environment,pleasant atmospheres are created. Think of a trip to a theatre,a restaurant,or nightclub. These experiences are formed by light. Very good lighting enhances the mood and desirability of spaces,consequently contributing to people’s sense of health. Every construction and distance expresses and communicates an identity,and at times also a corporate value. Good lighting should be a part of this,because what other element can enhance an atmosphere as much as lighting can? TIP: Produce a Combination of different lighting. 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 — surroundings created by humans. Instead of trying to accommodate ourselves to our creations,we must adapt these biotopes to our requirements. Sufficient light is one of those needs. Here are a few tips: Take the biological quality of lighting into consideration. It affects our sleep-wake cycle and this has a large influence on the health and productivity. Adapt the lighting to the daytime and year,as well as to the individual needs of the consumer. Vertical surface illumination,rather on large wall surfaces,is vital to create a feeling of space and depth. Additionally,it gives a visual resting stage for the eyes and adds a pleasant atmosphere to the working environment. Too often,office environments are insufficiently lit,not only from the perspective of biological lighting demands but also from an architectural one,where the room feels smaller due to insufficient lighting. The chart below shows how office workers analyzed their working environments — showing which aspects are important to them and how satisfied they are with each facet. As you can see,lighting is rated the most important of all the aspects mentioned,but there’s loads of room for it to improve. TIP: Have a light for general illumination,a standing luminaire which uplights the ceiling and a desk light
4 Get the best spot in the house
Are you based in a co-working space? And is there a flexible desk coverage? Choosing the right spot in the house can go a long way. Pick a place with a great deal of daylight. It is advised 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 possibility to look outside is an additional bonus. If you can,select a spot near the window. But make sure there is sun shading to stop harsh reflections on your computer screen. About 80 percent of allinformation 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 detected. Unlike sticks and cones,these cells do not contribute directly to our sight; they are nevertheless light dependent and help to modulate our circadian rhythm. So light isn’t just 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 intake we really need,especially during the darker period 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. Most people who suffer from SAD benefit from bright light therapy. Even in a workplace setting,light therapy makes people feel more alert and energized. It is found that an illumination which goes up to 2000 lux at the working area in the morning and the day,reduces the physiological reaction of anxiety and provides an energising effect to the body. In contrast,most working areas are lit to a standard 500 lux. If you would like to check the amount of lux at your desk,then download a lux meter program. It’s not very exact,but it gives you an idea on how little light we really have inside. Not only is a greater quantity of lighting needed,but also the colour temperature of the lighting plays a role. The artificial lighting should correspond to the colour temperature of the daylight. At noon the sky’s colour is a very cool 10000K but at sunset it’s a much warmer 2000K. Additionally lighting should reflect indirectly into the eyes from large surfaces,such as walls and ceilings. TIP: Attempt to catch enough daylight at any time of the year.
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A deadline and stilla great deal of work beforehand,no time to sleep! As lighting can disrupt your sleeping pattern,it may also boost your activity. In case you have alreadyfollowed the above-mentioned advice for mutually successful lighting than you’re already on the right path. If you need to pull an all-nighter,increase the light intensity and the quantity of bluish white light in the room. Almost done with your job? Change the setting to warm,low-intensity lighting,which will calm you down. You may also have experienced that when you work late on a computer or pill it’s 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 screen’s brightness and colour,to the daylight of your location. F.lux,by way of example,works on most systems,or the Twilight program reduces the amount of blue lighting on your Android phone. TIP: Have different lamp types and colour temperatures at your working area. Warm light sources at your desk could be combined with general and indirect lighting with different colour temperatures,for example 3500K and 5000K.