Running Your Business

How to Get the Most out of Your Office Lighting and Boost Workers’ Performance


  • Adjusting office lighting to your work environment needs can boost your employees' productivity

  • Increase the brightness of your office lighting to at least 2000 lux to help prevent seasonal depression and increase energy

  • Warm colors help relax and calm employees, while cool colors can help workers stay focused

Posted by December 29, 2017

If you’re looking to help your employees shine at work, it’s important to find the right office lighting.

In an office environment, lighting can impact your employees’ health, well-being and productivity. According to award-winning lighting architect Sabine De Schutter, most professionals work in biotopes (surroundings created by humans) that should be adapted to their needs. “Good lighting creates pleasant working conditions in a functional and atmospheric way,” De Schutter explains. “Satisfaction and efficiency will improve if you make sure you have enough daylight intake and a well-lit office space.”

The lighting in your office—and its effect on your workers’ performance—should not be underestimated. According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), “realistic changes in lighting can measurably increase worker comfort, motivation, persistence and vigilance.” Evaluating the pros and cons of various lighting options, and making some realistic changes in your office lighting, can help you boost the comfort and productivity of your employees.

Opt for a Higher Quantity of Light

Specifically during darker seasons like fall and winter, a higher quantity of light in the office can be a major benefit. By having brighter lighting, employees can feel more awake and energized. It may also help them avoid seasonal affective disorder, which is a type of depression linked to lack of light.

As De Schutter notes, “a [lighting system] that goes up to 2000 lux at the working area in the morning and the afternoon reduces the physiological reaction of stress and gives an energizing effect to the body.”

Upgrading the lux within your office may cost you. Most standard office lighting is set to 500 lux. However, if it boosts your employees’ mood and performance, the expense could be well worth it—and eventually pay for itself.

Select Your Color Temperatures Carefully

Not only is ample office lighting needed, but you should also consider the quality of artificial lighting. De Schutter suggests that color temperature within an office should correspond to the color temperature of daylight.

Warmer lighting—which is similar to sunshine in morning and evening—can provide relaxing and calming effects, which work best in locations like a break room and lobby area. However, using warmer lighting in areas that are meant to be more productive can actually be counter-productive. The light may cause workers to feel sleepy or less lively, so it’s best to apply cooler-colored lighting near desks and within conference rooms.

Instead of having only-warm or only-cool temperature lighting, find a balance and apply both where appropriate.

Consider the Direction of Your Lighting

The comfort of your employees is an important consideration; the more comfortable they are, the more productive they will be. So, when it comes to the comfort levels of your employees, what is the better choice: direct or indirect lighting?

According to a study by the ACEEE, a variety of direct and indirect lighting is ideal. Direct lighting that’s cast downward on a desk isn’t as comfortable for workers as an office environment that utilizes both indirect and direct lighting. If possible, providing controllable, individual lighting at each desk is an optimal setup. This allows employees to work comfortably and be more productive. If you can’t supply individual lights for desks, offering a variety of lit surfaces is considered more appealing than overhead lighting that’s just directed downward.

Investing in proper lighting can be expensive, but can also provide substantial benefits for your employees. Get the most out of your office lighting by utilizing different light intensities, temperatures and directions.

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