6 lighting hacks for healthier,more productive workplaces
It’s summer and there is light all around us — we take it for granted until those dark winter months come along. The sheer lack of sun 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 great news is that the right artificial lighting in your workplace can help you through. Good lighting creates pleasant working conditions in a practical and atmospheric way. Satisfaction and efficiency will improve if you be sure you have enough daylight ingestion and a well-lit office area. Artificial lighting that does not 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 alert through these dark winter days.
1 Produce atmospheres where your thoughts can develop
We’re all attracted to light,and there is not any other medium that has as large an impact 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 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 indicates that in companies 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 raises 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 light setting with direct/indirect light and a high quantity of vertical lit surfaces pleasing. Furthermore,if the desk lighting is independently controllable,people feel motivated and operate with greater precision. TIP: Create a light atmosphere with direct and indirect 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 in fact it has many more qualities than the obvious ones. We should move away from just thinking of light for tasks and focus on producing light settings for individuals. Today,most men and women work indoors,and spends almost the entire day indoors,in an unnaturally dark atmosphere. Our light intake is responsible 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 speed,with tiredness and listlessness as a result. We constantly find ourselves surrounded by light. It is a lot more than just illumination. If this knowledge transcends to our built environment,pleasant atmospheres are made. Think of a visit to a theatre,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 health. Every building 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 a feeling as much as lighting can? TIP: Produce a Combination of different lighting. 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 creations,we should adapt these biotopes to our needs. Adequate light is one of these needs. So how can you create a setting that increases your satisfaction and productivity? Here are a few guidelines: Take the biological quality of light into account. It affects our sleep-wake cycle and this has a large influence on our health and productivity. Adapt the light to the daytime and year,as well as to the individual needs of the user. Vertical surface illumination,rather on large wall surfaces,is vital to create a feeling of space and depth. It also gives a visual resting stage for the eyes and provides a pleasant atmosphere to the working environment. Too often,office environments are insufficiently lit,not just from the perspective of biological light needs but also from an architectural one,where the room feels smaller due to insufficient lighting. The graph below shows how office workers assessed their working environments — revealing 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 the aspects mentioned,but there is plenty of room for it to improve.
4 Get the best place in the house
Are you based in a co-working space? Choosing the ideal place in the home can go a long way. Pick a place with a great deal of daylight. It is recommended that around three percent daylight reaches a person’s working area. However,in most offices this is not 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 thatthere is sun shading to stop harsh reflections on your computer screen. TIP: Take the window seat,north,west or east facing About 80 percent of allinformation is taken in through our eyes. Until recently it was believed that our eyes used two kinds 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 are nevertheless light dependent and help to modulate our circadian rhythm. So light is not just a prerequisite for seeing,but is also an important zeitgeber (timer) and a regulator for our bodies. Unfortunately,we often don’t get the light consumption we actually need,especially during the darker time of the year,leading to the winter blues or seasonal affective disorder (SAD) — a kind 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 treatment makes people feel more awake and energized. It is found that an illumination that 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. If you would like to check the amount of lux at your desk, download a lux meter program. It’s not very exact,but it gives you an idea on how little light we actually have indoors. Not only is a greater quantity of lighting needed,but also the colour temperature of the light plays a role. The artificial lighting should correspond to the colour temperature of the daylight. At noon the sky’s colour is a really trendy 10000K but at sunset it’s a much warmer 2000K. Additionally light should reflect indirectly into the eyes from large surfaces,such as walls and ceilings. TIP: Try to grab 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 per day
A deadline and a great deal of work beforehand,no time to sleep! As light can disrupt your sleeping pattern,it can also boost your activity. If you have followed the above-mentioned advice for mutually successful illumination than you’re 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 job? You might also have experienced that when you work late on a computer or tablet it’s tough to sleep afterwards. The reason for this is the high blue content of the backlit displays. Blue light at night triggers an out-of-phase circadian rhythm,and is a health hazard. So use this light hack consciously. There are a number of applications you can install that correlate the display’s brightness and colour,to the daylight of where you are. F.lux,for example,works on many systems,or the Twilight program reduces the amount of blue light on your own Android phone. TIP: Have different lamp types and colour temperatures at your working area. Warm light sources at your desk could be combined with indirect and general lighting with different colour temperatures,such as 3500K and 5000K.