Lighting tips for the office

By Greg Bell

With 40-hour work weeks, the office is where the majority of Australians spend the majority of their time. For this reason, it's vital that offices are set out in ways that work for the employee's benefit – especially where health is concerned. A great way to look after your workers and boost their productivity is by configuring the office lighting to the working environment.

LED lighting

Gone are the days of fluorescent tube lighting – LED lights are here to stay. Fluorescent lights containing mercury aren't very environmentally friendly to dispose of, and their flickering nature can trigger migraines and eye-strain in employees. As an extra benefit, LED lighting is relatively cheap to run while providing a bright, consistent level of light.

Favour natural light

It's no secret that an office that embraces nature is a happier space, and this reigns true where light is considered, too. Natural light filtered through windows not only is a cheaper way to light up your space, but has plenty of health benefits for employees. This light boosts the vitamin D intake of your staff, which reduces the risk of heart disease and keeps seasonal depression at bay. You don't need to kit out your office with large glass windows – simply keeping the blinds open allowing employees to hot desk to various window seats during the day will help them stay motivated during the day.

Check the temperature

Ensuring your lights are at the right colour temperature is vital to providing an ideal working environment for your staff. This is known as correlated colour temperature, or CCT, which is a measure of how blue or yellow a light appears to be. CCT is measured in a unit known as Kelvin, and usually is between 2200 and 6500 Kelvin degrees.

Cool-toned lights – seen usually as white or blue – have a high colour temperature of over 4000 Kelvin degrees. These lights are common in hospitals as they offer a crisp brightness and high visibility. Warm lights, on the other hand, generally sit between 2200 and 3000 Kelvin units, with a low colour temperature.

For office spaces, neutral colour tones that throw more to cool – so between 3000 and 4000 Kelvin degrees – are a great fit as it promotes both alertness and calm, a perfect blend of moods for working.

Monitor computer lights

At some point or another, all office workers will fall victim to overtime. Unfortunately, while bad lighting can disrupt sleeping patterns, the right tone can help with a burst of energy. Next time your employees are spending their evenings at their desk, ensure that there's plenty of white and blue light around to keep them alert. As they wind down their work, it's a great idea to reduce the amount of blue light gradually to relax the body.

This includes on laptops, which have an incredibly high blue light content in their screens. There are plenty of apps that reduce the blue light intensity of screens in favour of an orange glow, which helps in regulating the body's natural circadian rhythm, and winds down the work day gently.

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