How can we create a healthy office space using lighting? The right lighting solutions can have a crucial impact on the way employees think, feel, and work, transforming the wellbeing and productivity of your workplace.
Finding the balance between white and yellow light, overhead and task lighting, and knowing where to build in clear paths for natural light are all fundamental aspects of good office design. Here we break down how and why you should make sure your workplace is designed with lighting that will support your staff’s wellbeing, helping to boost focus and ultimately productivity.
Exposure to the right amount of natural light can have a hugely positive impact on your health and wellbeing outside of the workplace as well as within it: a 2018 study by Cornell University demonstrated that common office-related ailments like eye strain, headaches, and blurred vision are reduced by 84% with the introduction of controlled daylight into a workspace. A 2019 study by Future Workplace found that 1 in 3 of the workers surveyed considered comfortable light important for their daily health, rating lighting as the second most important wellbeing-focused feature in their workplace after air quality.
With the right design, this vital natural resource can be harnessed and distributed throughout your space efficiently via carefully considered visibility paths, and customised with the use of blinds, awnings, and clear or tinted glazing. While each industry has its own specific lighting needs – a tech company might have a need for reduced glare, a legal or finance business might be looking to balance lighting with adequate privacy – whichever sector you’re working in, daylight will help your employees focus and feel better, with studies proving that workers’ productivity increases directly as result of proximity to windows, and that natural light in the workplace can even improve employees’ sleep.
Your lighting strategy doesn’t have to stop at choices between solid walls or glazing: by reconfiguring your layout and furniture arrangement, you can make a big impact on your employees’ health without having to substantially change office infrastructure. By positioning desks around the outer edge of a space, you can make sure your employees are getting the maximum benefits of the natural light in your office.
Where natural light is harder to come by, other lighting solutions can be built in through the right kind of product procurement. LED lighting especially offers benefits in both sustainability and wellbeing, using less energy and lasting longer than classic and fluorescent light features, while also most closely mimicking the quality of natural light. The Colour Rendering Index (CRI) measures how closely an artificial light source mirrors the colour spectrum of natural light on a scale of 1-100, and with many LED lighting products now having a CRI of 95 or above, they are ideal in darker areas of the office like smaller meeting rooms and phone booths.
The colour temperature of your lighting is also important to factor in when considering how each of your spaces will be used: while a gentler, yellower light with a lower colour temperature is better for reception areas, meeting rooms and breakout spaces, whiter light encourages more focused work and is best used to illuminate task-based areas. The task-based lighting in our new showroom office adjusts its colour temperature throughout the day, mimicking our daily rhythms in order to best support employee wellbeing.
Beyond making it easier and safer for people to concentrate and work well, human-centric artificial lighting, like we installed in Gymshark’s HQ, can track space use by collecting occupancy data. This makes it possible for businesses to identify inefficient space use and get the most out of their office. The ability to adapt to staff’s working patterns and preferences will allow for greater space efficiencies, improved productivity and increased operational flexibility. Human-centric lighting systems also use up to 90% less energy than traditional installations.
With the home office such an integral part of our working lives, lighting is a key part of an ergonomic home set-up. Where possible, make sure that you work by a window, either facing it or at up to a ninety-degree angle, in order to maximise the wellbeing benefits of natural light and minimise screen glare. It’s best to also have a warmer desk light available, so that you can easily switch between the kind of light you need at any particular moment for certain tasks.
Supporting your remote and flexible employees in their home work environments is just as crucial as curating the right kind of workplace, as remote workers who feel that their employers are taking an active interest in their health are likely to experience greater work wellbeing and be more productive as a result. Investing in the lighting and ergonomic infrastructure of your workforce, wherever they’re based, is an investment in the future of your business.