6 lighting hacks for healthier,more productive workplaces
It’s summer and there is light all around us — we take it for granted till 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 once we feel energetic and in a fantastic 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. Very good lighting creates pleasant working conditions in a functional and atmospheric way. Satisfaction and efficiency will improve if you be sure you have enough daylight ingestion and a well-lit office area. Artificial lighting that doesn’t just help you see,but also meets your biological lighting requirements,is the future of office lighting. Here are six light hacks to keep you healthy and awake through those dark winter days.
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1 Create atmospheres where your thoughts can develop
We’re all attracted to light,and there isn’t any other medium that has as large an impact 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 lively,creative and motivating environment. The research indicates that in companies with a high standard of interior design,productivity can increase by up to 36 percent. Who would not like to see their efficiency skyrocket? Additionally,comprehensive 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 purely downward lighting was comfy. In comparison,91 per cent saw that a light atmosphere with direct/indirect light and a high quantity of vertical lit surfaces pleasing. Furthermore,if the desk lighting is individually controllable,people feel motivated and work with greater precision. TIP: Create a light atmosphere with direct and indirect 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 actually it has many more qualities than the obvious ones. We should move away from just thinking of light for tasks and concentrate on producing light settings for people. Today,most people work inside,and spends almost the entire day indoors,in an unnaturally dark setting. Our light intake is responsible for feeling and sleeping well,and affects our productivity. When there is a shortage of natural light to help us tell the exact time of day,then our circadian rhythm (body clock) loses its speed,with tiredness and listlessness as a result. It’s a lot more than just lighting. It inspires,attracts,enables communication,sets a mood,and has psychological qualities. If this knowledge transcends to our built environment,pleasant atmospheres are made. Think of a visit to a theatre,a restaurant,or nightclub. These experiences are shaped by light. Very good lighting accentuates the mood and desirability of spaces,consequently leading to people’s sense of wellbeing. Every building and space expresses and communicates an identity,and sometimes also a corporate value. Good lighting should be a part of this,because what other element can enhance an atmosphere as much as lighting can? TIP: Create a Combination of different lighting. Use illumination that affirms a space’s individuality
3 From homo sapiens to homo officunus
In today’s world,we spend many hours working in biotopes — surroundings made by humans. Instead of trying to accommodate ourselves to our creations,we must adapt these biotopes to our requirements. Sufficient light is one of those needs. Here are a few tips: Take the biological quality of light into consideration. It affects our sleep-wake cycle and this has a large influence on our health and productivity. Adapt the light to the daytime and season,as well as to the individual needs of the user. Vertical surface lighting,rather on large wall surfaces,is vital to create a sense of space and depth. It also gives a visual resting point for the eyes and adds a pleasant atmosphere to the working environment. Too frequently,office surroundings are insufficiently lit,not only from the perspective of biological light needs but also from an architectural one,where the room feels smaller because of inadequate lighting. The chart below shows how office workers assessed their working environments — revealing which aspects are important to them and how satisfied they are with every facet. As you can see,lighting is rated the most important of all of the aspects mentioned,but there is loads of room for it to improve. TIP: Have a light for general lighting,a standing luminaire that uplights the ceiling and a desk light
4 Get the best spot in the house
Are you based at a co-working space? And is there a flexible desk coverage? Choosing the ideal spot in the house can go a long way. Pick a place with a great deal of daylight. It’s recommended that around three percent daylight reaches a person’s working area. However,in most offices this is not the case. Daylight provides an emotional quality to a space and the possibility to look out is an additional bonus. If you can,choose a spot near the window. But make sure there is sun shading to stop harsh reflections on your computer screen. About 80 percent of allinformation is taken in through our eyes. Unlike sticks and cones,these cells do not contribute directly to our sight; they’re nevertheless light dependent and help to regulate our circadian rhythm. So light is not just a requirement for viewing,but is also an important zeitgeber (timer) and a regulator for our bodies. Unfortunately,we often don’t get the light intake we actually need,especially during the darker period of the year,resulting in 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. Most people who suffer from SAD benefit from bright light therapy. In a workplace setting,light treatment makes people feel more alert and energized. It’s found that an illumination that goes up to 2000 lux at the working place in the morning and the day,reduces the physiological reaction of stress and provides an energising effect to the body. In comparison,most working areas are lit to a standard 500 lux. If you want to check the quantity of lux at your desk, download a lux meter program. It’s not very precise,but it gives you an idea on how little light we actually have inside. Not only is a higher quantity of lighting required,but also the colour temperature of the light plays a role. At noon the sky’s colour is a very cool 10000K but at sunset it is a far warmer 2000K. Additionally light should reflect indirectly into the eyes from large surfaces,such as walls and ceilings. TIP: Try 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 to the workplace. You should have at least half an hour of daylight a day
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A deadline and stilla great deal of work beforehand,no time to sleep! As light can disrupt your sleeping routine,it can also boost your own activity. In case you have alreadyfollowed the above-mentioned advice for mutually successful lighting than you are already on the right path. If you need to pull an all-nighter,increase the light intensity and also the quantity of bluish white light in the room. Almost done with your work? Change the setting to warm,low-intensity lighting,which will calm you down. You might also have experienced that if you work late on a computer or pill it is difficult to sleep afterwards. The reason for this is the high blue content of the backlit screens. Blue light at night triggers an out-of-phase circadian rhythm,and is a health hazard. So use this light hack consciously. There are some applications you can install that correlate the display’s brightness and colour,to the daylight of where you are. F.lux,for instance,works on most systems,or the Twilight program reduces the quantity of blue light on your own Android phone. TIP: Have different lamp types and colour temperatures at your working area. Warm light sources at your desk could be combined with general and indirect lighting with different colour temperatures,for example 3500K and 5000K.