December 9, 2017
Office Lighting Design for a Healthy Workspace
POSTED BY Dahir
Experts agree that 80 percent of the information we absorb is through our sense of sight. So it’s no surprise that lighting, what enables us to see, is critical.
But despite this, when it comes to business, lighting is often overlooked. People either undervalue its impact, or forget about it altogether. Because in most situations, lighting is one of those things we take for granted. Sure, we appreciate its presence subconsciously, but unless we’re forced to suffer day in, day out with a flickering bulb hanging over our head, most of us aren’t paying attention. And this oversight can be damaging.
A study by the American Society of Interior Design explained that 68 percent of employees were unhappy about the lighting in their offices.
It’s concerning to think that two-thirds of people aren’t functioning at their optimal level because of an improperly lit work environment. If employers placed the same value on illuminating their workplace as they do on furnishing it, they would no doubt see improvements.
The wrong light
Lighting isn’t just a black and white issue. Incorporating the right lighting in a workplace creates a far greater impact than simply helping people see. Productivity, job satisfaction and overall health are substantially affected by the type and quality of light.
The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety points out several downfalls of poor lighting, such as
- Decreased productivity
- Unsafe work conditions
- Eyestrain, blurred vision, dry/burning eyes
- Muscle stiffness and soreness (people compensate for poor vision by adopting harmful postures).
This can all be due to overly bright lights, too much glare, not enough contrast, shadows, dim lighting, insufficient window coverings, flickering, and the list goes on.
The right light
While it’s easy to envision what harmful lighting looks like, pinpointing the ideal situation poses a challenge.
Many interior designers and builders are encouraging clients to incorporate ‘daylighting’ into their interior office design. This is the process of illuminating an interior with natural light – requiring strategic planning based around existing windows, doors and skylights.
But while most people agree that natural light is best, it’s almost impossible to rely solely on the sun, especially during our dark, Canadian winters. That being said, finding a solution to supplement natural light is crucial.
What works best for one business may be detrimental for another. A fast-paced marketing firm is best served by stimulating lighting that energizes employees; a psychology clinic benefits from understated, warm lighting that creates a feeling of serenity for patients; an industrial warehouse requires bright, white light to effectively illuminate potential hazards.
Don’t forget about the environment
Conducting a lighting renovation not only benefits the people at work, but also the environment. Innovative lighting solutions reduce energy consumption drastically. And in this day and age, the desire to reduce our negative environmental impact is as important as being financially savvy.
The Bavarian State Medical Board in Germany underwent a lighting overhaul, and the results proved remarkable. After implementing a customized solution that made sense for the organization, it noticed a 65 percent reduction in energy usage – per year.
The potential benefit to paying attention to lighting – for both the environment and the bottom line – is staggering.
Discover your ideal lighting solution
Truspace designs and builds office environments where businesses thrive. To discuss the part light plays in the operation of your business, request a complimentary consultation with a TruSpace designer today.