How Office Lighting Is Affecting Your Health, Sleep, and Productivity was originally published on Vault.
The quality and intensity of your office lighting can have a significant effect on your ability to focus, concentrate, and live a healthy life. That’s why it’s so important to work under the proper amount and intensity of lighting at all times. Here, we explore the various ways your office lighting is affecting your professional life and general wellbeing—and how to optimize your office lighting to improve your productivity and health.
1. Your productivity
Bright lighting significantly improves your ability to focus, concentrate, and stay alert. This explains why you’re able to get more done when working in bright open spaces than dark spaces. Thus, your office should be well lit to enable you to achieve maximum productivity.
According to lighting experts, the best office lighting systems combine natural and artificial lighting. And ideally, the intensity and position of the artificial light should be adjustable. That way, you can personalize your lighting, taking into account the time of day and your individual preference.
Note that proper morning lighting is extremely important, as it can help start you off on the right foot and help you maintain maximum productivity throughout the day. Because your day at the office often starts in the kitchen, it’s ideal that your office kitchen is well lit. A dark kitchen without much lightning will deteriorate your (and others’) morale and motivation.
2. Your health
Poor lighting can also do havoc to your health. Artificial lighting, in particular, has many negative effects on your wellbeing when uncontrolled. For starters, too much artificial light can cause eye damage in the long run. (This also holds true for your computer’s light; sitting in front of a too-bright monitor for too long can cause headaches, fatigue, and stress.) On the other hand, dim lighting can cause frustration, especially when an employee is forced to strain their eyes for long. And excessive stress and frustration can easily cause you to feel depressed.
Lack of natural sunlight can also result in a condition known as Seasonal Affective Disorder. To fight against SAD, it’s advisable to have a designated “basking” area outside your office (such as a balcony) where you can go to expose your body to direct sunlight. This is particularly relevant for people who work indoors all day long and city dwellers who live in small apartments.
3. Your emotional stability
Good lighting helps keep your emotions in check. It helps you feel stable and relaxed, and reduces stress. You’ve probably noticed that light from windows has a unique, calming effect. Darkness in an office, on the other hand, may trigger emotions of fear, making you constantly defensive and not act professionally. Fear often makes people pick fights easily and act unnecessarily rudely and aggressively. And emotional instability can significantly hurt your social life.
4. Your eating patterns
Multiple studies have shown that light affects eating behavior and patterns in more ways than one. Dim lighting, for example, may slow down your feeding rate or reduce your normal food intake. On the flip side, people tend to eat better when in sufficiently illuminated rooms.
5. Your sleep
According to some studies, people who aren’t exposed to direct sunlight lose an average of 46 minutes of sleep each night. Thus, given that most people work full days indoors, the need for office windows that bring in natural light is highly important. So, if you work at home, make sure your workspace is near a window. And if you work at an office, make sure your company is investing in ways—such as open plan offices—to expose all employees, including you, to natural light.
Nora Price is an architect–interior designer and a writer for different design websites, currently working for GVD Renovations. She is young and ambitious, and has a degree in architecture. She has more than eight years of experience in interior and exterior design. Her mission is to inspire others to live their dreams and create their perfect sweet home. She puts a big effort into working with her clients and tries to help them the best way she can.