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Why Improve Office Lighting?

Posted

Office Lighting, JP Office Workstations

It’s the little things that get to you. The chair feels a bit too rigid. One of the desk’s legs is too high. The room temperature is just a bit too cold. Worst of all, the lighting just feels… off.

You’re squinting to read the text on the screen. You’re either sticking your face closer to the monitor, or you’re pulling back. You’re shifting your position on your chair over and over, trying to find the right spot that doesn’t give your eyes a distracting glare.

Before the day even ends, you’re already feeling tired or sleepy, and your productivity has been shot. Since you’re constantly going through the same experience day by working day, you probably don’t even notice how such a seemingly minor issue can have such a major effect on the quality of your daily output.


Proper Lighting Boosts Productivity

As evidence that it’s really not just you who gets affected by poor office lighting, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology’s research into light exposure shows that those who get plenty of sunlight are “significantly more alert” when evening falls. Performance late in the afternoon is also affected by poor lighting, so the study says. 

Going further back in time, there is also the Cornell University in 1989 wherein they observed the performance of Xerox employees. 30% more employees complained of tired eyes from working under overhead fluorescent lighting than the ones who worked with indirect lighting. This led to about 15 minutes of time lost every single day.

To add to that, almost 30% of the Xerox employees said that they also lost time from work due to the glare caused by those overhead fluorescent lights.

Getting the most out of the precious time spent in the workplace is always something to strive for, so getting the appropriate lighting has to be part of the office space setup/renovation process.


Proper Lighting Saves Energy

Poor lighting in the office doesn’t just eat away at productivity. It also drains energy faster, kicking up overhead costs with higher electricity bills and the need to replace the light fixtures when they start flickering and eventually go out. 

The biggest example would be the 1986 case study of the US Post Office in Reno, Nevada. By spending $300,000 in renovating the lighting, the office started saving about $50,000 a year thanks to energy efficiency. Tying it back to lighting’s effect on work performance, its employees also became more efficient at work, with productivity gains worth $400,000 to $500,000 per year. The rate of machine operators committing sorting errors also dropped all the way down to 0.1%, topping all of the western region offices.

It is astounding to think how much money can be saved and recouped from simply changing the lights to make for a better working environment.


Bright Ideas for Switching Lights

Following the logic of sunlight affecting alertness, it’s best to have windows in work areas to welcome in a good deal of sunshine. If the office space and windows are designed as such, the ambient light from the sun can sustain hours late into the afternoon without having to rely too much on light fixtures.

For offices that just can’t have the good old sun beaming through the windows, it’s better to have multiple lights placed on the walls instead of using the typical harsh fluorescent lights placed right above desks.

The spread out ambient lighting feels much less oppressive than those bearing down on you. The setup also serves to lessen the stark contrast a dark wall and a bright monitor might have in your immediate field of vision, reducing eye strain.

Lamps on desks for task lighting should be considered for further productivity optimization, as these fixtures can be personally adjusted to fit whatever differences in light conditions each employee might have.

Take the gloom out of your office, and let the light in to enjoy a more productive and energy-efficient work day. 


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