Office environments are no longer considered a “dime a dozen” and are instead seen as valuable assets. They are a space where the personality of a business can be showcased and productivity can flourish. One of the greatest opportunities to increase worker productivity and comfort, while incurring a significant energy savings, is lighting improvement. While it may not seem that impactful, the lighting design within an office environment dictates the comfort, productivity, and safety of the workers.
Office lighting can be broken down into two categories, general and task lighting. It’s important to design a lighting plan that provides the right amount illumination and is considerate of what good lighting is – and what it isn’t.
What does poor office lighting look like?
Lights that are too dim or too harsh will directly affect worker performance in an office environment. When lighting is inadequate, eyes must work that much harder to see, causing unnecessary eye strain, headaches, fatigue, and lack of focus. On the other hand, harsh lighting (often caused by strong fluorescent bulbs) has also been known to cause eyestrain and fatigue.
Devices such as computers, laptops, and tablets should also be taken into account as they function using their own source of light. In this instance, light from other sources, such as harsh general lighting can be detrimental to worker performance. The screen itself can even cause glare if the brightness and contrast controls within the office setting are not properly adjusted. Multi-tasking between materials adds another level of complexity to lighting design. Most work often involves the use of a monitor and paper documents simultaneously. Paper documents require a higher light level than the monitor, but glare can result from an improper match or excessive contrast in light levels between the screen and the printed document.
A good visual environment should have sufficient light that comes from the right direction, a good contrast between the task at hand and the background, and limit glare.
When Possible, Use Natural Light in Office Spaces
Mother nature knows best, and natural light is the best choice for interior lighting. That’s why everyone wants an office with a window! Natural light positively affects how well we can see and impacts our mood, behavior, and hormone balance. We like it when the sun is on our face, go figure. Natural lighting has been shown to increase worker happiness, decrease absenteeism, and results in increased levels of productivity.
Not everyone can have their day in the sun. When natural light isn’t possible, LEDs lights are the next best alternative. LED lighting can emit a bright, pure white light that appears like daylight, causing a bodily reaction similar to natural sunlight. They also emit light in a specific direction, reducing the need for reflectors and diffusers that lower efficiency. LED lights do not flicker (like many fluorescent bulbs general lighting applications might), and are free from toxic substances and UV emissions.
LED Lights in Task Lamps
To find the right balance of light between devices and paper materials, we recommend LED task lamps over incandescent or fluorescent lightings. LED task lamps are brighter, more energy efficient, and last longer than their competitors.
If you don’t have access to daylight, working under cooler light bulbs will help relive eye strain and increase productivity. The word “cooler” references the color temperature emitted from the light bulb. Bulbs that fall on the cooler side of the Kelvin Spectrum best represent natural daylight. Our EarthBulbs range from 2700K-5000K, offer significant savings in operating expenses, and provide commercial office spaces with an eco-friendly alternative for general and task lighting needs.
LEDs, The Best Alternative to Natural Daylight
The way lighting is designed for the office space can either add comfort to an employee’s workday or severely limit it. Using up to 90% less energy when compared to traditional incandescent bulbs, LEDs serve as the best alternative to natural daylight, reduce harsh lighting conditions, and can enhance the light design of your next retrofit or new construction project. (Much to the happiness of your employees and utility bill.)
If you have a question about a particular lighting application or pricing for your office buildings lighting retrofit, please contact us today.