6 lighting hacks for healthier,more productive workplaces
It’s summer and there’s light all around us — we take it for granted until those dark winter months come together. The sheer lack of sun can be depressing. Every year we encounter this longing for summer,craving those long,bright days when we feel energetic and in a good mood. The good thing is,we’ve again passed the longest day of 2015,but the good news is that the right artificial lighting in your workplace can help you through. Good lighting creates pleasant working conditions in a practical and atmospheric way. Satisfaction and efficiency will improve if you make sure you have sufficient daylight intake and a well-lit office space. Plus,your productivity will be positively affected by well-designed illumination. Artificial lighting that doesn’t just help you view,but also meets your biological lighting needs,is the future of office lighting. Here are six light hacks to keep you healthy and awake through these dark winter days.
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1 Create atmospheres where your ideas can develop
We’re all attracted to light,and there is not any other medium that has as big an influence on our bodies and minds as light. Both daylight and artificial light play an integral role in our health and wellbeing. Increasingly,companies face the question of how they could improve staff wellbeing and create a dynamic,creative and motivating atmosphere. The research shows that in companies with a high standard of interior design,productivity can increase by up to 36 percent. Who wouldn’t like to see their efficiency skyrocket? Additionally,in depth research from the Light Right Consortium,arrived at the conclusion that light increases productivity. Only around 70 percent of the interviewees said that working at workstations with only downward lighting was comfy. In comparison,91 per cent saw that a light setting with direct/indirect light and a high quantity of vertical lit surfaces pleasing. Moreover,if the desk light is independently controllable,people feel motivated and operate with greater accuracy. TIP: Create a light atmosphere with indirect and direct lighting. Avoid having only downwards-directed illumination.
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2 Light for people,not just jobs
Lighting is often just seen as a requirement to enable us to see,but in fact it has many more qualities than the obvious ones. We should move away from just thinking of light for jobs and focus on producing light settings for people. Today,most men and women work inside,and spends nearly the entire day inside,in an unnaturally dark setting. Our light intake is responsible for sleeping and feeling well,and affects our productivity. When there is a shortage of natural light to help us tell the time of day,then our circadian rhythm (body clock) loses its speed,with fatigue and listlessness as a result. We always find ourselves surrounded by light. It is much more than just illumination. It arouses,attracts,enables communication,sets a mood,and has psychological qualities. If this knowledge transcends into our built environment,pleasant atmospheres are made. Think of a trip to a theatre,a restaurant,or nightclub. These experiences are formed by light. Good lighting enhances the mood and desirability of spaces,consequently contributing to people’s sense of wellbeing. Every building and distance expresses and communicates an identity,and at times also a corporate value. Good lighting should be a part of this,because what other component can enhance an atmosphere as much as light can? TIP: Create a mixture of different lighting. Use illumination that supports a space’s identity
3 From homo sapiens to homo officunus
In today’s world,we spend many hours working in biotopes — surroundings made by humans. Rather than trying to accommodate ourselves to our own creations,we must adapt these biotopes to our own needs. Adequate light is one of these needs. Here are a few guidelines: Take the biological quality of light into account. It influences our sleep-wake cycle and this has a big influence on the health and productivity. Adapt the light to the daytime and year,as well concerning the individual needs of the user. Vertical surface illumination,rather on large wall surfaces,is crucial to create a sense of space and depth. Additionally,it gives a visual resting stage for the eyes and adds a pleasant atmosphere to the working environment. Too frequently,office environments are insufficiently lit,not only from the perspective of biological light demands but also from an architectural one,where the room feels smaller due to inadequate lighting. The chart below shows how office workers assessed their working environments — showing which aspects are important to them and how satisfied they are with every aspect. As you can see,lighting is rated the most important of all the aspects mentioned,but there’s loads of room for it to improve. TIP: Have a light for general illumination,a standing luminaire which uplights the ceiling and a desk light
4 Get the best spot in the house
Are you based in a co-working space? Choosing the ideal spot in the house can go a long way. Select a place with a lot of daylight. It is recommended that around three percent daylight reaches a individual’s working area. However,in most offices this isn’t the case. Daylight gives an emotional quality to some space and the option to look outside is an additional bonus. If you can,select a spot near the window. But make sure there is sun shading to prevent harsh reflections on your computer screen. About 80 percent of allinformation is taken in through our eyes. Until recently it was believed that our eyes used two kinds of photoreceptors — rods and cones — to receive light,but a decade ago,a third type,called ganglion cells,was discovered. Unlike sticks and cones,these cells don’t contribute directly to our sight; they are nevertheless light dependent and help to regulate our circadian rhythm. So light isn’t simply a requirement for viewing,but is also an important zeitgeber (timer) and a regulator for our own bodies. Unfortunately,we often don’t get the light consumption we really need,especially during the darker period of the year,leading to the winter blues or seasonal affective disorder (SAD) — a type of depression associated with a lack of light. It leaves people feeling moody and lacking energy. Many people who suffer from SAD benefit from bright light treatment. In a workplace setting,light therapy makes people feel more awake and energized. It is found that an illumination which goes up to 2000 lux in the working place in the morning and the day,reduces the physiological reaction of stress and gives an energising effect to the body. In comparison,most working areas are lit to a standard 500 lux. If you would like to check the quantity of lux at your desk,then download a lux meter program. It is not very precise,but it gives you an idea on how little light we really have inside. Not only is a greater quantity of light required,but also the colour temperature of the light plays a role. The artificial lighting should correspond to the colour temperature of the daylight. At noon the sky’s colour is a really trendy 10000K but at sunset it is a much warmer 2000K. Additionally light should reflect indirectly into the eyes from large surfaces,such as walls and ceilings. TIP: Attempt to grab enough daylight at any time of the year. Go outside for a break,get off a stop earlier from the subway and walk the rest of the way into the workplace.
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A deadline and stilla lot of work ahead,no time to sleep! As light can disrupt your sleeping routine,it can also boost your own activity. If you’ve alreadyfollowed the above-mentioned advice for biologically effective lighting than you are already on the right path. If you need to pull an all-nighter,increase the light intensity and the quantity of bluish white light in the room. Almost done with your job? You might also have experienced that when you work late on a computer or pill it is tough to sleep afterwards. The reason for this is that the high blue content of the backlit screens. So use this light hack consciously. There are a number of applications you can install that correlate the display’s brightness and colour,to the daylight of your location. F.lux,by way of instance,works on most systems,or the Twilight program lowers the quantity of blue light on your own Android phone. TIP: Have different lamp types and colour temperatures in your working area. Warm light sources in your desk could be combined with indirect and general lighting with different colour temperatures,for example 3500K and 5000K.