Updated: Jan 18
How important is lighting when it comes to office spaces, and what are some of the best practices to go about choosing and fixing lighting?
Office lighting is one of the many determinants to an employee’s perception about the workplace and can enhance your employees' performance as well as increase the aesthetic appeal of the office. Best practices with regards to office lighting would have to adhere to safety regulations and ensure a good balance with natural light as well.
The workplace is where most individuals spend a major part of their day, anywhere between seven to ten hours, five days a week. Thus, favorable working conditions are crucial for employees to give their best and to feel completely comfortable - and lighting is one of those conditions. Lighting affects ergonomics, that is, the way people perform at their workplace. In bright, good quality lighting, people are able to concentrate better on their work, while dim lighting causes tiredness and headaches. Good lighting sources have also been observed to boost the mood and thus, make the employees happier.
7 Office Lighting Best Practices
Office lighting is important for the health and well-being, as well as performance productivity of the employees. It has been scientifically proven that the kind of lighting used in workplaces does indeed influence employees’ work, mood and overall health over time. There are many points to keep in mind if you are in charge of choosing and getting office lighting fixed. While the chosen lighting should not be too dull or dim, they should not be harsh in brightness either - a harmony has to be found and maintained. It is often recommended that the lighting indoors at the office should be as synchronized as possible with the outside light. Further, depending on the layout of the office space, different types of lights may be needed, such as overhead lights, floor lamps, etc. Although the factors determining what constitutes best lighting practices differ from office to office, here are 7 best practices.
Before picking lighting sources and finalizing on them, it is necessary for those in charge to study the office layout and plan carefully. Otherwise, it could lead to haphazard placement of lights which would then cause more disruption in office activities - poor positioning of lighting sources is as bad as poor lighting itself.
Ceiling lighting is one of the first concerns when it comes to choosing office lights, as these will be fixed in maximum quantity all over the office space. It is important to ensure that the overhead lights don’t have glare to them, that is, they are not overly bright. Further, the positioning of the ceiling light should not be directly over the employee’s desk - that can only be feasible if the lights are smaller.
Add corrective lighting as an additional so that the balance between light and shadow is maintained. Corrective lighting acts as a mediator between the different kinds of lighting and colour temperature in the office - the natural light outside, the main lighting source used at the workplace as well as computers and mobile screens. Such lighting makes adjustments so that the employees don’t have to strain their vision and can work in better conditions.
It is widely agreed that natural daylight is the best kind of lighting one can use for the most productive work environment. However, these days it is increasingly difficult for companies to find office spaces that are exposed to considerable daylight, so it follows that daylight-like lighting must be mimicked by closest available artificial lighting. Thus, the colour temperature of the lighting used in such offices, especially bigger and wider office spaces, should be between 5000K and 7000K, according to lighting experts.
It has been observed that brighter and warmer, white based lighting correlates to energy and wakefulness for employees. They boost their performance and productivity, while dim lights make one drowsy and lethargic at times.
The idea is to find a right balance between yellow and white lights and use lighting that falls somewhere in the middle. Dimmer lighting can always be used in recreational areas to create a more relaxed atmosphere.
Consider using task lights. In some cases, overhead lighting may not be the best option, but task lighting can salvage the situation.
Task lights are small in size and the advantage is that these can be easily plugged into outlets as convenient to the employee and their needs. Thus, these can provide concentrated light just where the employee needs some - using such lights will also allow your employees control over where and how they would prefer lighting for their work.
It is important to take into consideration your employees’ feedback in regard to office facilities and factors such as seating and lighting. Lighting is particularly important to employees as they cannot perform well in very dim lighting where they cannot see well. Neither can they work comfortably in harsh lighting, particularly in case of employees suffering from headaches. Hence, the company should be sure to ask the employees individually if they are comfortable with the lighting conditions and whether they are able to perform optimally in those conditions.