6 lighting hacks for healthier,more productive workplaces
It’s summer and there’s light all around us — we take it for granted until those dark winter months come together. The sheer lack of sunlight can be depressing. Every year we encounter this longing for summer,craving those long,bright days once we feel energetic and in a fantastic mood. The sad news is,we’ve again passed the longest day of 2015,but the good news is that the perfect artificial lighting in your office can help you through. Good lighting creates pleasant working conditions in a functional and atmospheric way. Satisfaction and efficiency will improve if you make sure you have sufficient daylight intake and a well-lit office area. Artificial lighting that doesn’t just help you see,but also meets your biological lighting needs,is the future of office lighting. Here are six light hacks to keep you healthy and awake through these dark winter days.
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1 Create atmospheres where your thoughts can develop
We are all attracted to light,and there is not any other medium that’s as big an influence on our bodies and minds as light. Both daylight and artificial light play an integral role in our health and wellbeing. Increasingly,companies face the question of how they could improve staff wellbeing and generate a dynamic,creative and motivating atmosphere. 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,in depth 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 found a light setting with direct/indirect light and a high quantity of vertical lit surfaces pleasing. Furthermore,if the desk lighting is individually controllable,people feel motivated and operate with greater accuracy. TIP: Create a light atmosphere with indirect and direct lighting. Avoid having just downwards-directed illumination.
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2 Light for individuals,not just tasks
Lighting is often just seen as a requirement to enable us to see,but actually it has many more attributes than the obvious ones. We should move away from just thinking of light for tasks and concentrate on creating light settings for individuals. Today,most men and women work indoors,and spends nearly the whole day indoors,in an unnaturally dark atmosphere. Our light intake is responsible for feeling and sleeping 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 fatigue and listlessness because of this. We always find ourselves surrounded by light. It’s much more than just lighting. It arouses,attracts,enables communication,sets a mood,and has emotional qualities. If this knowledge transcends to our built environment,pleasant atmospheres are made. Think of a trip to a theatre,a restaurant,or nightclub. These experiences are formed by light. Good lighting accentuates the mood and desirability of spaces,consequently contributing to people’s sense of wellbeing. Every construction and space expresses and communicates an identity,and at times also a corporate value. Good lighting should be a part of this,because what other component can enhance an atmosphere as much as lighting can? TIP: Create a mixture of different lighting. This will guarantee flexible change of light atmosphere. Use illumination that supports a space’s identity
3 From homo sapiens to homo officunus
In today’s world,we spend many hours working in biotopes — environment made by humans. Rather than trying to accommodate ourselves to our own creations,we should adapt these biotopes to our own needs. Sufficient light is one of these needs. So how can you create a setting that increases your satisfaction and productivity? Here are a few tips: Take the biological quality of light into consideration. It influences our sleep-wake cycle and this has a big influence on our health and productivity. Adapt the light to the daytime and year,as well concerning the individual needs of the consumer. Vertical surface lighting,rather on large wall surfaces,is vital to create a feeling of depth and space. Additionally,it gives a visual resting stage for the eyes and adds a nice atmosphere to the working environment. Too often,office environments are insufficiently lit,not just from the perspective of biological light demands but also from an architectural one,where the room feels smaller because of insufficient lighting. The graph below demonstrates how office workers assessed their working environments — showing which aspects are important to them and how satisfied they are with every facet. As you can see,lighting is rated the most important of all of the aspects mentioned,but there’s loads of room for it to improve.
4 Get the best spot in the house
Are you based at a co-working space? And is there a flexible desk coverage? Choosing the ideal spot in the house can go a long way. Select a place with a great deal of daylight. It’s recommended that around three percent daylight reaches a individual’s working area. However,in the majority of offices this isn’t the case. Daylight gives an emotional quality to a 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 prevent 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 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 discovered. Unlike sticks and cones,these cells do not contribute directly to our sight; they are nevertheless light dependent and help to regulate our circadian rhythm. So light isn’t simply a prerequisite for seeing,but is also an important zeitgeber (timer) and a regulator for our own bodies. Unfortunately,we often don’t get the light intake we actually need,especially during the darker time of the year,leading to the winter blues or seasonal affective disorder (SAD) — a type of depression linked to a lack of light. It leaves people feeling stressed and lacking energy. In a workplace setting,light treatment makes people feel more alert and energized. It’s found that an illumination which goes up to 2000 lux in the working area in the morning and the day,reduces the physiological reaction of stress and gives an energising effect to the body. In contrast,most working areas are lit to a standard 500 lux. If you want to check the quantity of lux at your desk,then download a lux meter program. It’s not very exact,but it gives you an idea on how small light we actually have indoors. Not only is a higher quantity of lighting needed,but also the colour temperature of the light plays a role. At noon the sky’s colour is a really cool 10000K but at sunset it is a far warmer 2000K. Additionally light should reflect indirectly into the eyes from large surfaces,like walls and ceilings. TIP: Attempt to catch enough daylight at any time of the year. You should have at least half an hour of daylight per day
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A deadline and stilla great deal of work beforehand,no time to sleep! As light can disrupt your sleeping routine,it may also boost your activity. If you’ve alreadyfollowed the above-mentioned advice for biologically effective lighting than you’re already on the right path. If you will need to pull an all-nighter,increase the light intensity and also the quantity of bluish white light in the room. Almost done with your work? Change the atmosphere to warm,low-intensity lighting,which will calm you down. You may also have experienced that if you work late on a computer or tablet it is difficult to sleep afterwards. The cause of this is that the high blue content of the backlit screens. Blue light at night causes an out-of-phase circadian rhythm,and is a health hazard. So use this light hack consciously. There are some applications you can install that correlate the screen’s brightness and colour,to the daylight of where you are. F.lux,for instance,works on most systems,or the Twilight program reduces the quantity of blue light on your own Android phone. TIP: Have different lamp types and colour temperatures in your working area. Warm light sources in your desk could be combined with general and indirect lighting with different colour temperatures,such as 3500K and 5000K.