Office Lighting – Getting it right
Poor office lighting is one of the most common complaints from office workers, and one of the elements routinely neglected in office interior design.
Good lighting is central to happiness, productivity and health and should form an important part of the decision-making process when completing an office fit-out or refurbishment project. At Aztec, we take care to balance the science and aesthetics without sacrificing either.
There have been many studies in recent years around the association between lighting, performance and employee wellbeing. It’s accepted that office lighting is one of several important factors that contribute to creating a working environment that supports wellness and improves productivity.
There is also a growing body of research looking at its impact on absenteeism, employee stress and industrial action, highlighting the importance of getting office lighting right the first time.
So, how can you make sure you get it right the first time?
Natural light is always best, but we appreciate that it isn’t always possible to ensure that the recommended 5 per cent daylight reaches every employees’ desk. There has been lengthy discussion around the benefits of natural light in the workplace and its importance as key principle of biophilia – but good artificial light can also strike the right balance, avoiding any negative impact on circadian rhythms and associated health woes.
Offices can be lit effectively from both a biological and architectural perspective.
Introducing task lighting and corrective lighting
In offices where there is harsh fluorescent lighting, either ambient or corrective lighting can reduce discomfort. Corrective lighting behind computer screens will be effective in diminishing any glare from the computer screen and result in a more pleasant environment, while easing pressure on the eyes and reducing the likelihood of developing a headache.
Task lighting on each employees’ workspace is helpful in providing additional lighting where it is needed, while also helping to reduce any discomfort from fluorescent lights.
Consider the temperature
The temperature of lighting should always be considered. Here’s the science bit – CCT, or Correlated Colour Temperature, allows you to gauge how yellow or blue the colour of light emitted from a light bulb appears. Warm light sources have a low colour temperature and offer a cosy, inviting glow, while at the opposite end of the scale are cool light sources such as fluorescent lamps. They feature in the blue range and provide a more stark, bright lighting such as that found in a hallway or public bathroom.
Neutral to cool colours are generally appropriate in an office space, but temperature should be carefully considered as part of any office fit-out to ensure that it’s comfortable and appropriate, both for the employees and for the space.
Worker controlled lighting and daylight linking
Worker controlled lighting allows individuals to control the lighting within their own workspace. In the UK, we have some of the longest working hours in Europe, which often see day turn quickly into night while seated at the same desk. Worker controlled lighting offers the ability to create a comfortable level of lighting appropriate to the time of day.
Daylight linking is also an option to consider; although not employee-controlled, it sees the alteration of lighting to the appropriate level as the daylight coming into the office diminishes. Daylight linking is a clever tool that is effective in combating some of the issues routinely caused by poor office lighting, such as health problems resulting from mismatched circadian rhythms.
Worker controlled lighting and solutions tailored to individual needs is likely to be incorporated into more offices over the coming years as employers realise the potential for enhancing employee satisfaction and retention as part of a wider workplace strategy to create space people enjoy and are comfortable working in.
Incorporating trends in office lighting
Incorporating new lighting trends into office space should be carefully considered, focusing on areas away from desks. Avoid using Edison bulbs and repurposed industrial light fixtures across areas where people are working for long periods of time and instead incorporate statement fixtures in reception areas, hallways, cafes and breakout areas.
If you’re interested in learning more about how better office lighting could benefit your business and employees, get in touch with Aztec –our Electrical Services team provides a complete and professional approach to ensure your installation is carried out carefully and in full compliance. We work closely with architects and electrical consultants to provide a comprehensive range of services.