Last Updated on December 31, 2018
When setting up a workspace, most people focus on finding the right desk and a comfortable chair, but there’s one element that gets overlooked: lighting.
Too often, we opt to work with whatever lighting is already in a room – an overhead fixture or a desk lamp – rather than select lighting purposefully based on the task. And when we do this, we pay the price in lost productivity.
According to the American Society of Interior Design, 68% of employees don’t like their office lighting, whether because it causes eye strain, glare, or feels sterile, a trait that can repress creativity. If you have the option of adjusting your workspace’s lighting, then, consider these three factors, all of which can enhance overall productivity. Your eyes will thank you.
Emphasize Natural Light
One of the worst things about working in a traditional office is that the space is typically lit with harsh, fluorescent lighting, which can be irritating to many people and is also notoriously dim; that’s why, when setting up your office, you should emphasize natural light.
The brighter light – a sunny day can reach more than 50,000 lux, compared to the average 500 lux typical of office lighting – can increase energy and improve your mood, particularly during the winter months when the days are shorter.
Beware Of Glare
Whether you’re relying on overhead lighting, task lighting, or natural light in your workspace, glare is your worst enemy, and it’s a common problem when working at a computer. One benefit of natural lighting, though, is that you can install blinds to control glare, while maintaining a comfortable level of lighting; you can also adjust the shades’ position depending on the time of day, thereby minimizing glare and maximizing light.
Another way to minimize glare at your workstation is by installing an anti-glare screen filter on your computer. If you work in a large office where you don’t have control over the type of lighting used, this is often the best option and can help protect your vision health in the long-term.
Emphasize The Blues
Blue light gets a bad reputation these days because overuse of screens at night can cause insomnia since blue light from the screens can suppress melatonin, but blue light isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, emphasizing blue-based lights in your office can make you more alert and help you pay attention to the task at hand.
Depending on the work you’re doing, you should also vary the intensity of blue lighting. Mid-level blue lighting, typically between 4,000 and 5,000 Kelvin, is ideal for conference rooms since the intensity is enough to promote alertness, while lighting between 5,000 and 7,000 K is better for brainstorming spaces since the more intense blue makes people more alert and minimizes fatigue. The more intense blue also encourages creativity and create a sense of excitement, which is why it’s ideal for innovation spaces.
The right lighting can transform a space from soporific to invigorating, boost your mood, and make you feel more creative, yet too often, offices emphasize precisely the wrong type of light – and it’s time to take back control. Design your office to be easy on the eyes and encourage your coworkers to do the same. After all, the only thing you have to do to get started is open the shades and let the sun shine in.