Proper lighting has many effects on the human mind, mood, and well-being. Getting enough light is sometimes the factor between having a positive attitude and suffering from eye strain, or worse, depression. Now more than ever, we know that lighting affects your productivity and alertness, and working with the proper lighting is crucial to a healthy office or work from home experience.
Ensuring proper lighting does not only mean installing more lights or buying a lamp, but rather knowing which kind of light is best suited for the various parts of an office building or home office.
The Different Types of Lighting
Warmer colors, such as orange or yellow, tend to create a sense of relaxation, comfort and intimacy. Blue light, found in computer screens and digital devices tend to stimulate our brains. When you visit a fancy restaurant, the lights are dimmed intentionally to make you feel more comfortable. On the flipside, too much screen time before bed can leave your brain active and mind restless. Cool or cold lighting is actually preferred in work areas and meeting rooms because it enhances alertness and lowers melatonin.
“Proper lighting can not only be good for a person’s health, provide positive attitude and productivity, but it also helps the company save on money as employers can monitor the well-being of their employees,” writes Martin Luenendonk of Cleverism.
The chart below depicts the different temperatures of lighting and where each type should be utilized in the working environment.
The Best Light is Natural
Natural light is also a key facet to maintaining good productivity at work. According to Cornell University’s department of design and environmental analysis, employees exposed to natural light at work reported an 84 percent drop in symptoms of eye strain and headaches, and experienced clearer vision. Also, if your workspace has living plants, they grow better in natural light, and it’s the essential source for Vitamin D in humans.
Furthermore in the same Cornell University study, employees sitting next to windows experienced a 2 percent increase in productivity. Natural light is more of a basic need than other trendy workplace perks and it helps facilitate a positive employee experience.
If you can’t work near a window, try to schedule breaks to walk outside and take deep breaths to recharge.
LED vs. Fluorescent
Although LED and fluorescent lighting appear similar to the eye, they are actually comprised of different materials that affect their longevity and price among other factors. According to Energy Focus, LED lights produce a full color spectrum and better resemble sunlight, emitting the brightest white possible. Because of this, LED lights are better suited to help improve focus and clarity and are recommended for working spaces.
On the other hand, fluorescent lights contain mercury, last only 3-5 years, and are dependent on ballast. The lower lumen count in fluorescent lights means more heat and less light is produced than its LED counterpart. Its wavelengths spike at blue, green and red, meaning colors are more artificial and harsh.
Proper lighting is important for productivity and focus, and poor lighting can take a toll on our eyes and minds. The most preferable lighting solution is sunlight; but remember, cooler lights stimulate brain activity and warmer lights are better suited for relaxation or your post-work hobbies!