Bright Ideas for Business Lighting
Posted by Guest Author on January 2, 2014 in Business Technology [ 0 Comments ]
The most negative images of the modern workplace – dreary rows of cubicles with employees slumped over in front of their computers – involve an element that not many people give much thought to: light. In a business setting, lighting can have a surprisingly strong effect on employees’ productivity.
According to a study published in the online journal SLEEP, insufficient light in the workplace can negatively affect employees’ sleep and overall quality of life. Other studies show that inadequate lighting can also impact worker performance, increasing the likelihood of mistakes. Better lighting can have a positive effect on workers both physically and in terms of their actual ability to do their job.
In order to use lighting to enhance worker productivity, it helps to pay attention to not only the level of light, but also the type of light, and the ways in which it is used. Here are some steps to consider:
1. Increase Overall Illumination in Office Spaces
Given understandable concern about the cost of energy, it can be tempting to cut down on the level of lighting in a building in order to save money. However, not only does bad lighting negatively impact workers’ mood, but it can also actually increase the likelihood of mistakes, by causing workers to feel tired and making it harder for employees to see their computer screens properly. Increasing overall illumination can not only improve productivity but can also make workers feel more positively about their environment.
2. Switch to LED
When considering the switch to LED lightbulbs, most of the discussion generally focuses on potential energy and cost savings. However, another factor to take into account is whether LED lights can be used to create a more aesthetically pleasing and less depressing atmosphere than the one we associate with using traditional fluorescent lighting.
3. Utilize Natural Light
A way to create savings and make workers happy is to employ as much window area and natural light as possible. This was particularly emphasized in the SLEEP study mentioned above. Increasing workers’ access to natural light means improving their sleep cycles and overall physical well-being, which has an obvious positive effect on both mood and performance. In addition, employing natural light could mean reducing overall energy costs.
4. Seek Employee Input
One of the reasons bad lighting has such a negative impact on employee morale is because it reminds them that they are at work – reinforcing a feeling of lack of control. You can reverse this effect by seeking employee input. They are in the best position to tell you which stairwell is so dark that they feel unsafe, or which windows need shades for the hours when the sun shines in too brightly. You can also incorporate dimmer switches so that employees have some power to adjust the light level as well.
5. Use Light to Influence Customers
Finally, keep in mind that lighting also affects how your customers feel about the environment you are creating. In a retail setting, by spotlighting sales or high-ticket items, you can direct your customers’ attention toward them and increase the likelihood that they will sell quickly. You can also use lighting to create a particular aesthetic; for example, a modernist hotel trying to appeal to a youthful and edgy demographic will want a sharper and brighter look than a more old-fashioned hotel trying to appear warm and cozy in order to appeal to families. Lighting consultants can help you figure out the right set-up for your particular business.
What kind of strategies have you tried for using lighting effectively in the workplace?
Author Bio: Chris Long is a long-time Home Depot store associate in the Chicago suburbs. Chris also writes articles for the Home Depot website on electrical and other topics of importance to businesses and homeowners. Chris has worked at Home Depot since 2000.
(Image via shutterstock.com)