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Importance of Proper Lighting in the Workplace

11 September 2023

Over a hundred years ago, in the 1920s, employers were determined to maximize their worker's productivity. A factory called Hawthorne Works called in researchers to find out how the lighting would affect the workers' productivity. Did lighting have an impact?

To begin with, researchers added more lighting fixtures to the factory, increasing light intensity. They saw that the productivity of the workers increased significantly.

Carrying their experiment further, they decided to dim the light and expected to reach a level where they could have maximum productivity in relation to the light. As they began to decrease the light intensity, they noticed that the productivity kept rising. Even when they lowered the light to a bare minimum, well below the intensity they started with, the workers performed efficiently.

The conclusion they drew from their study was that if employees know they are being observed, they will work at their maximum potential, irrespective of the lighting conditions.

Fortunately, we are not living in the 1920s. We have access to far more resources and understand that the dynamics of the present workforce are significantly different than those of the previous century. We now know that lighting is a crucial factor in the workplace.

Importance of Lighting in Today's Workplace

We might not think about it too much, but research over the last few decades has concluded that lighting plays a more important role than we think. Setting the lighting right in the workplace helps improve efficiency and reduces health risks. It also increases the company's overall safety and reduces the chances of injuries. Overall, lighting contributes to the comfort and performance of the employees.

Most workers and employers now believe that poor lighting can lead to many problems. When the light is low, issues such as headaches, eye strains, stress, fatigue, and accidents are more prone. Similarly, if the light intensity is too high, you are more likely to experience glare, stress, and headaches. So, whether you are an employer, self-employed, or an employee, it is essential to have a balanced lighting condition in the workplace.

Since the Hawthorne experiment, numerous studies have been conducted to understand the importance of lighting. Nearly all of them suggest that balanced lighting is crucial for productivity and helps reduce errors.

Most people believe that improving lighting conditions means adding more light. This is partly true, but it is more important to pay attention to balance rather than intensity. This will help you keep your electricity bills under control and ensure maximum efficiency.

Here are a few things you can do to improve lighting:

Make use of natural light

Position your lights to help you focus on the task at hand

Ensure lighting fixtures are clean and unobstructed

Try to position furniture according to lighting sources

For best results, it is essential to use a good combination of natural and artificial light and only invest in the lighting fixtures you need for your job. For instance, if you have a desk job, you will need a desk lamp to read documents, and you can have a few roof or wall lighting fixtures.

Improving Lighting Conditions

Although it is good to allow natural light into your workplace, sometimes, opening the window shades either makes it too bright or warm. So, it is essential to have shades or curtains on all the windows to control the amount of light entering your room. You can also invest in good lighting fixtures to cover any dark areas.

Consider Adjustable Lighting

Generally, office lighting is fixed, and you can only turn it on or off. However, installing adjustable lights rather than multiple lighting fixtures around your workplace makes sense. For instance, an adjustable table or floor lamp can be brightened when working on a focused area, such as reading, and dimmed down when you want to achieve a good ambiance for your workplace.

If you host several employees in your office, adjustable lighting can allow each employee to set the light according to their preference. It is believed that older people need and prefer brighter light, while younger people do better in dim light. With different preferences, it can be challenging to balance the light intensity in your office. However, dimmable lights will make everyone happy.

Another benefit of adjustable lights is that they can be adjusted to positively affect energy levels, eyesight, and the overall well-being of everyone in the workplace. If you use adjustable floor or table lamps, you can easily move them around and use them wherever you need more light.

Use Energy Saving Lights

Energy bills are one of the major costs of all offices. Even a small reduction in the bills can help you save. When you plan and adjust your workplace lighting, you will improve productivity and save on energy bills.

Over the last few years, many energy-saving options have become available. Most offices have made a shift from traditional fluorescent lamps to LED lights. These lights use far less energy than old ones and remain cooler.

Modern lamps come equipped with sensors, which can detect the presence of a person and the amount of light in the room. The lamp will automatically switch off when the person is not present in the workplace. Similarly, suppose the lamp feels there is enough light in the room due to other sources such as windows or other artificial light. In that case, the lamp will adjust the intensity or even switch off to save electricity.

Do Not Rely on One Source

Good office lighting is achieved by combining multiple direct and indirect light sources. Simply put, direct lighting focuses light on a specific area. For example, a desk lamp is designed to help you focus on your desk. Indirect light, on the other hand, lights up a larger area. For example, a chandelier hanging in the middle of the room will provide light to a larger area.

Freestanding office lights have become quite popular over the year. They allow you to use them as a direct or an indirect source according to your preference and requirement.

Light-Adjusting Tips

Making the most of your lighting fixtures to attain the optimum light can be quite challenging. Here are some tips you can use to improve lighting in your workplace.

Use Bright Paint

The simplest method to make the most of your lighting fixtures is to paint your walls and ceilings white or a bright color. Bright colors reflect more light than darker colors. If you walk into a room with a single light source and the walls are white, you will notice that the room looks quite spacious. On the other hand, if you wank into a same-sized room with the same light source but dark walls, you will notice that the room feels more constricted.

The bright paints will give your office a more pleasant ambiance, and Remember to use matt paints instead of glossy ones to minimize glare and make your workplace look more graceful.

Experiment with Light Source Position

It may sound common sense to place direct lights where you need to focus. But sometimes, indirect lights can help you focus better by lighting up your surroundings. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for lighting because every workspace is different, and so are everyone's preferences. But one thing is for sure; you are free to experiment with your light sources.

One of the best ways to get the optimum light is to play around with the light sources in intensity and position. Try moving your light source closer or farther away from your workstation, and see how it affects your mood and productivity. Similarly, you can also try to dim or increase the intensity of the light to find balance. Finally, you can adjust the number of light sources and how much you want to rely on one source. For instance, if you have windows, you may want to rely more on natural light than artificial lighting.

Pay Attention to Glare

Some people brighten up their workplace with all the light they can get and pay no attention to how objects around the room reflect light. Any light reflected off shiny surfaces can cause glare, leading to eye strain, fatigue, and headaches.

Glare usually happens when you have the wrong light in the wrong place, and it is of three types:

Disability Glare hinders vision and can often dazzle people in the room. If not paid attention to, it can lead to accidents.

Discomfort Glare is probably the most common type of glare. As the name implies, it can cause discomfort and mild consequences such as headaches or eye strain.

Reflected glare happens due to shiny and mirror-like surfaces, and it can make it difficult to view things in a distance

It is important to reduce glare as much as possible to minimize its consequences and improve productivity. You can do that by using matt paints and surfaces around the office. Although those chrome finishes might appear elegant, it is best to use them in moderation to prevent them from doing more bad than good.

Modern Floor Lamp FL2001

The Modern Floor Lamp FL2001 has a sturdy base, allowing it to stand tall. It comes with an adjustable socket, so you can adjust the angle and focus the light where you need it the most. A 9W LED bulb comes along with the lamp.

The FL2001 is a great lighting solution whether you want to brighten your home, office, or even your workspace. The flat-pins plug and push button switch make it a convenient choice.

Final Thoughts

Lighting plays a crucial role in office productivity. However, it is essential to ensure that you maintain a balance. Too much light can cause glare and lead to distractions. While too little light will make it difficult to focus on the task at hand. It is important to find the correct balance between intensity, the number of light sources, and the electricity you use for lighting.