June 22, 2020.
We are enjoying the long days of summer here in southern Indiana and Kentucky. We tend to disregard our love for light until the dark winter months start to creep in. Every year our social media timelines and friendly conversations point towards our longing for summer. The bright warm days full of excitement and longevity.
With summer rapidly progressing it is a good time to turn our attention to future productivity in the workspace. Having a light, good light specifically, creates working conditions that promote positive and productive workspaces. Artificial lighting technology no longer just meets the need of being able to see what one is doing, but also our biological needs as humans to function at our best. Listed below are some hacks to keep you performing your best as the days grow darker.
1. Choose Lighting for Employees, not tasks
Our light intake as humans is one of the main factors in how we sleep, our well being, and our daily productivity. Our body has what is called a circadian rhythm, basically an internal clock. When this clock loses its pace due to a lack of natural light, we can become tired and listless. The idea of just picking the best light for the job and not for people is becoming more and more archaic. Most people nowadays work indoors yet we constantly find ourselves surrounded by light. The lighting we surround ourselves with sets the tone for inspiration, communication, mood and other emotional reactions. Think of visiting a nightclub, or bar, or movie theatre. Each venue specifically lit to get the desired productivity out of its occupants. This should be no different for the workspace.
2.Use lighting to create spaces that inspire ideas.
As we come into a new age of working, whether it be in the office or from home, companies and employees alike are searching for how they can create a dynamic and creative workspace. The light Right Consortium did a study and came to the discovery that light can increase productivity drastically. Of the interviewees, 70% said that working in a space that only utilized downward lighting was comfortable, while over 90 percent stated an office space with direct and indirect lighting was more pleasing. Also, worth noting, many found that having a self-controlling desk light more motivating and increased work accuracy.
3.Choose your seat wisely
It is a common recommendation that at least 3-5% of daylight reaches the workspace of an individual. Knowing this is not possible in most offices where cubicles are king. This is where knowing how to light one’s area with color temperature and lumens comes in handy. However, if you can pick your own desk whether it be a flexible work policy or co-working space be sure to do so where there is ample daylight.
4.Proper Color and Intensity
With newer discoveries made around light consumption and the human eye, it is imperative that we understand the ability we have in controlling our bodies.
Before this discovery it was believed that the eye functioned on two main factors; rods and cones. However, ganglion cells have since been discovered, although these cells do not contribute directly to our eyesight, they do directly impact our circadian rhythm. While we spend most of our days in offices, we often miss out on the amount of light we need as human beings, regardless of the task at hand.
This is even more noticeable during the winter months, often creating in people (SAD) or seasonal affective disorder. For people who suffer from SAD, bright light treatment can be extremely beneficial in treating often-associated symptoms like fatigue, moodiness, and lethargy.
This is where the color comes in to play. It is said that a light that can reach 2k lumens around the workspace improves energy and alertness while simultaneously reducing stress. This, coupled with the color temperature of the bulbs has proven effects on behavior, well bring and productivity. The lighting in the workspace should reflect the outside temperature of the daylight. The higher the K number the cooler the color (white/blue), as the number gets lower the warmer the color (yellow/orange).