It’s no secret that light has an immense impact on the way our bodies function on a daily basis. Light is closely linked to our circadian rhythms or our ‘built-in clocks’, and as such, it largely affects our behavior. In other words, how we feel during the day, how much energy we have, and how well we’re able to perform during the day largely depend on our light environment.
Given how lighting has such a significant impact on our physical and mental well-being, it pays to know what we can do in order to improve the lighting system in our surroundings and, as a result, improve our health and well-being. Before we can do that, we need to understand the relationship between lighting and our day-to-day performance. From lighting temperatures and colors to lighting design and programmable lighting, here’s how lighting can either aid or undermine your work performance.
Natural light gives a productivity boost
The most suitable and the most advisable kind of lighting, natural light is the ideal option for both living spaces and offices. In fact, some reports revealed that when employees are exposed to natural lighting, their stress levels are lower than those of their peers, and they’re 18% more productive. This difference in work performance is due to the fact that daylight regulates circadian rhythms, and workers whose rhythms are offset are bound to experience more stress than their co-workers who receive more natural lighting during the day. Furthermore, individuals who spend more time in offices and spaces with daylight features are also less likely to experience headaches and drowsiness. Consequently, they are more likely to show signs of overall satisfaction and happiness. Making sure that there’s sufficient natural lighting coming in and positioning a living space or a workspace in order to make the most of available natural lighting are key to designing a space that will boost our productivity and improve our work performance.
Lighting design dictates the atmosphere of a place
A room’s lighting design is largely determined by its size and purpose. Generally speaking, interior lighting design should consist of three main components – ambient, task, and accent lighting. While the first lighting layer, ambient lighting, is used to illuminate larger areas, usually with the help of overhead lighting fixtures (chandeliers, track lights), the other two layers are used to focus the light on particular areas, either to illuminate workspaces (table lamps) or to accentuate certain objects that are displayed (wall sconces). That being said, the lighting design should be adjusted to fit the room’s intended use. The choices you make will largely dictate the atmosphere of the space, and whether you want to create a comfortable area for relaxing or a working environment that will keep you alert, it’s all achievable with proper lighting design.
Proper lighting translates to a healthier work environment
A space with improper lighting does not only translate to lower motivation and productivity levels and poor work performance, but it can also have a significant impact on our health. Headaches, migraines, and strained eyes are some of the most common effects of poor lighting. Individuals who spend time in poorly lit spaces often experience drowsiness and fatigue, and they’re more likely to have trouble sleeping. This is why it’s important for companies to try to replicate natural light during office hours. For instance, installing an alternative lighting system such as energy efficient, yet aesthetically pleasing industrial light can do wonders for employees’ motivation and energy levels. Furthermore, it can prevent employees from facing those issues, thus ensuring a healthier work environment.
Light temperature can make all the difference
Other than the placement of the lighting fixtures themselves, our mood and performance are heavily influenced by the lighting temperature and color. The lower the color temperature of a light source, the warmer colors it will emit. These warm colors vary from yellow to red, and they go up to 3000K. Similarly, the higher the color temperature of the light source, the cooler the colors will be. These colors are whitish or blueish, they go up to 4600K and above, and are more similar to sunlight. Generally speaking, cooler colors are preferable in settings where there’s a need to maintain a high level of productivity as it’s closer to natural light. Therefore, by making a switch to cooler light, you can expect to reduce depression and boost alertness and performance.
More lighting options means more flexibility
Installing programmable lighting is one of the growing trends when it comes to lighting technology, and more and more companies are starting to see the benefits of it. With more lighting options such as lights with dimmers, there is a greater feeling of comfort as the surroundings can be easily controlled and adjusted to one’s liking. This flexibility can drastically change the way we work and perform. And because we’re able to change the ambiance and the mood with a flick of a switch, the quality of our work is likely to improve.
Increasing our performance on a daily basis can be done with something as simple as a flick of a switch. With a carefully selected lighting design, we can create a positive and productive work environment we can thrive in. All it takes is a quick and easy change of the bulb!