FM newsroom – office, well-being. Studies have shown that natural light exposure can improve sleep, reduce fatigue and enhance cognitive performance. Workers who are exposed to daylight are more alert, have fewer errors and are more productive than those who are not. But how to lighten up in the darkest season of the year?
Natural daylight is truly the best medicine for the office
The Future Workplace poll conducted for the Harvard Business Review found that 70% of people with access to natural daylight improved their work performance. When employees are fulfilled in their workplace environment, they are more engaged, produce higher quality individual work and are much happier in general – Buildings.com reports.
A study by Dr. Alan Hedge, a workplace design expert and professor in the Department of Design and Environmental Analysis at Cornell University, found that workers in daylight office environments reported a 51% drop in the incidence of eyestrain, a 63% drop in the incidence of headaches and a 56% reduction in drowsiness.
“As companies increasingly look to empower their employees to work better and be healthier, it is clear that placing them in office spaces with optimal natural daylight should be one of their first considerations.” – Dr Alan Hedge, Cornell University
In addition, daylit rooms were found to contain fewer types of bacteria that result from human skin shedding (including some that can cause respiratory disease), and more closely resembled outdoor bacterial communities. This led to the conclusion that while daylighting was previously believed to be only beneficial for visual comfort and broad health, it also influences air quality and functions as a disinfectant as well.
How to brighten up the office in wintertime?
But even with access to natural light, the winter blues can kick in as sunlit hours get shorter. During the moodiest and darkest season of the year the right office lighting can reduce stress and common health complaints – claims the workspace designer company, AJ products. Here are some tips on how to keep up the well-being and productivity of employees in the office:
- Choose LED lights. LED lighting is a good option for both the environment and your budget due to its long lifespan, environmental friendliness and low energy consumption.
- Think blue. Cool blue lighting has a refreshing effect as it lowers the level of melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone, in the body and makes you more energetic and efficient.
- Place your desk lamp well. Put the source of light to the left of you if you are right-handed and to the right if you are left-handed. This prevents shadows forming over your workspace.
- Choose ergonomic desk lights that can be adjusted. Desk lamps have a highly concentrated direct light, which is perfect when you want to light up a specific area.
- Let your tasks dictate your choice of lighting. While working at the computer you generally need less light than when reading printed materials or working with small details.
- Keep in mind that dark surfaces absorb light and bright surfaces reflect it. Therefore, rooms with dark décor usually need more light fittings.
- Mix directional light with general lighting to create soft and pleasant contrasts between light and shadow.
- Keep in mind that if your office has high ceilings you will need light fittings with more powerful light distribution.
- Make use of the daylight in your room. Natural daylight can be a huge boost to employee well-being and will also help you save on lighting costs.
- +1. A motion sensor is a good investment for the office. This will turn off the light when there’s no one in the room, which can lead to considerable savings on your energy bills.