The Importance of Workplace Lighting
Lighting plays an important part in creating inviting, productive workspaces. Energy efficiency, flexibility and control are now key considerations when addressing workplace lighting.
These days, most employers know that working environments need to go beyond their legal requirements and provide fun, welcoming spaces that bring out the best in their workforce – regardless of whether they work in an office, shop, gym or coworking facility. Thankfully, that also means the old ‘on/off’ (or ‘blinking’) fluorescent lights are being phased out – not only do they cause eye strain and headaches, but they’re also expensive to run!
New technologies, such as energy-efficient LED and circadian lighting, are now favoured because they enhance the atmosphere and ambient environment. In fact, new studies show that good lighting affects work performance. Further research also shows that circadian-friendly lighting can actually boost productivity levels.
Current Workplace Lighting Trends
Many new offices choose human-centric lighting options, allowing individuals to control LED lights via an app on their smartphones. This gives them the flexibility to easily adjust the lighting for particular tasks or to create a particular mood. For instance, the lights in a meeting room can be dimmed for a presentation and then brightened for the rest of the discussion with minimal fuss.
The circadian rhythm of the human body is a complex subject but, very basically, it’s a kind of internal clock that responds to daylight. Research into the conditions that affect and disrupt this rhythm is ongoing – but one key factor is believed to be artificial light.
As a result, circadian lighting has been developed to mimic natural daylight. Lighting levels and tone adjust throughout the day and night, to signal to the body when to be active and when to wind down. Research shows that this helps even out the traditional mid-morning productivity peak and mid-afternoon slump.
Passive infrared (PIR) motion sensors are being adopted by many large offices to automatically manage energy usage. Motion sensors dim or switch the lights off when there’s no one around so there’s no energy wasted. Some sensors are so sensitive they can even detect micromovements, such as typing, so no one is left in the dark!
Lighting for Collaborative Spaces
Co-working/collaborative spaces and hot-desking bring their own challenges because different people will want different options at different times. In these instances, library-style desk lighting is a good option. The desk space itself is illuminated, normally from a light source above the desk, and can be switched on or off as required.
If space is an issue, we’ve seen some neat options from DeVorm, which combine lighting within sound-minimising desk dividers, so the lights take up minimal space.
If a total refit is out of the question, some simple changes can make a big difference. For instance, you could opt for two sets of ceiling lights – one regulation and one ambient. The different warmth and brightness helps create a different feel during meetings and events, or in breakout spaces and kitchens. Just remember to make sure you use the right ones for work!
Wall lights can also be introduced to enhance the space and highlight key points of interest, such as art, graphics and displays. It’s a simple way to add visual interest and ambient light, without affecting the lighting levels for work.
Planning to modernise your workplace lighting?
The Layrd Design team can make recommendations on everything from light positioning to brightness and fixtures. Get in touch with us today to find out more.