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Lighting Ergonomics in the Workplace
7 August, 2021
Workplace Lighting Ergonomics
Gone are the days when we used to rise with the sun and sleep upon its setting. In today’s modern society, artificial lighting has enabled us to rewire our natural body clocks and stretch the day to its limit. As much as we try to ignore our circadian rhythms, however, mother nature wins in the end, and when it comes to the workplace, the connection between light and employee productivity and well-being is clear.
A survey published in the Harvard Business Review reveals in a research poll of 1,614 North American employees that access to natural light and views of the outdoors are the number one attribute of the workplace environment, outranking other desired perks such as onsite cafeterias, fitness areas, and on-site childcare. Efforts are now underway by researchers to study the impact of light on the circadian rhythm, to improve the quality of people’s lives, and lighting manufacturers such as LF Illumination work with their clients to meet their specific lighting needs.
Since many of us spend most of the day at work, it’s important for employers to choose office lighting carefully. The following tips will help to maximize lighting ergonomics in the workplace:
One of the fundamentals of lighting ergonomics is ensuring there is sufficient lighting. Clear, bright lights elevate a person’s mood, helping them attain a sense of energy and motivation throughout the day. Appropriate lighting can reduce eye fatigue and headaches and has a significant effect on productivity.
Workplaces should also maximize their use of natural light as much as possible as employees who have exposure to natural light during the day show more alertness, and have better sleep compared to those in offices with artificial light.
It is not always possible to get natural light in an office environment. Another way to capture the benefits, however, is through LED lighting. The digital nature of these lights makes them relatively easy to tune to settings that support circadian needs and can aid a more positive mood. By using the latest LED technology, offices can control and adapt the intensity, duration, and timing of lighting during the day to match circadian rhythms.
Studies show that the color temperature of light can affect mood and emotions. Color temperature describes the light appearance provided by a light bulb and is measured in “Kelvin” (K). Light of a warmer temperature has been shown to cause drowsiness, whereas light of a cooler temperature aids productivity, improves mood and alertness, and overall mental well-being.
Too much direct lighting can create shadows and dark areas around the office. This can result in eye strain and headaches, as the eyes are continually being challenged to acclimate to varying amounts of light. Dual-source lighting uses both overhead lighting as well as task-specific lighting thereby removing shadows and dark patches, providing a more even dispersion of light on workspaces. Having a main source of light in combination with direct light such as desk lamps also allows employees to adjust their lighting according to their personal needs.
Let There Be Light
The importance of good lighting cannot be underestimated when it comes to employee well-being and morale, so it should be a priority in the design phase of any workplace environment.
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