Lighting plays a major role in an office's design and, just like the layout of an office, it can have a huge impact to the people who work in this space.
Lighting can influence everything from how people make decisions – brighter lighting causes people to respond more emotionally – to how well people sleep at night; dim lighting causes restless sleep. Lighting design is so often overlooked when it comes to office design, but it can have a significant impact on the health of your staff and overall company image.
Here are a number of ways that having well considered and set up office lighting can impact on the wellbeing and productivity of staff. After all, good office lighting can also help you relay a good impression on clients.
1. Fitting LEDs will save money and provide a better quality of light
Fluorescent tubes have long been the bulb of choice for offices as they are cheap to buy and fit, suitable to be installed in suspended ceilings and can light large areas. They do however incur flickering and bulbs becoming dimmer with age, meaning the quality of light can be poor, meaning over time they are far from ideal for office environments.
LED lighting is by far the popular alternative for offices. They have been seen as an expensive option for offices, but are more cost-effective than fluorescent lighting.
They are a great deal more energy efficient than fluorescent tubes as they last far longer and use much less energy to operate. Additionally, they don’t contain mercury and other chemicals found in fluorescents, which can be harmful to the environment. As a result of these developments and enhancements, fluorescent lighting is almost no longer used in the UK.
2. Utilise natural light
This is one of the best assets in office design as it can make an office look instantly brighter and more welcoming. It should take the lead, with artificial lighting increasing the light to sufficient levels helping people feel more connected to the outside world whilst being able to work comfortably. Good levels of daylight in an office can increase productivity and sales by up to 40% and creativity by 15%. Employees who have more exposure to natural light sleep longer, exercise more and have a better quality of life than if exposed to weaker lighting levels. It's been said that commercial buildings with no windows are worth about 20% less in rent than those with windows; it’s well worth considering utilising natural light as much as possible in an office. Lighting an office naturally can cut energy costs too; more natural light means less artificial light is required and lower energy bills.
Daylight integrated lighting control systems help regulate the level of artificial light in response to the level of natural light in a space. As a result, artificial light will be automatically dimmed depending on how much natural light is present.
3. Install a lighting control system
Lighting control systems can help save energy in an office building as they respond to how each area of the office is used. Adding one of these systems into an office redesign or fit out means you can get better efficiency of any new lighting that has been installed in terms of performance and energy saving capabilities.
Lighting control systems will also help you to save money by regulating the lighting in different areas of your office. Areas not in constant use, such as corridors, toilets and meeting rooms, will benefit from a lighting control system as this will ensure these areas are only lit when people are present. Occupancy control sensors ensure that the areas are lit when in use and that lights are switched off when they are not needed.
Lighting control systems also enable a level of flexibility to the level of lighting that is vital in modern offices. Dimmer switches can be installed to control light levels in meeting rooms where projectors are used.
Blinds and window dressings can also be considered for lighting control. Perforated blinds maintain the view outside of a window whilst redirecting sunlight onto the ceiling.
4. Lighting suitable for every task
Modern offices demands their own type of lighting to suit the requirements of its workers. It’s vital that lighting is incorporated well so your employees can work comfortably and effectively. Open plan offices can easily become flooded with artificial light as ceiling lighting has to be strong enough to illuminate people’s desks. This can lead to glare from overhead fluorescent lighting and over-illumination, both of which can have a negative impact on people’s health and a waste of energy.
Lighting should be layered to avoid over-illumination. Instead of all the light coming from the ceiling, this general lighting is layered with ambient and task lighting, to allow greater control of how an individual’s workspace is lit. Event an adjustable desk lamp can provide extra light when working on specific tasks and adjustable floor lamps can enable an individual to personalise their lighting.
5. Use lighting to zone different areas
Lighting can be a great way to help relay your brand values and complement your office design to create a strong and clear, impressive first impression. It can help to define different areas in an open plan office, optimising the space available.
Office lighting has more influence on company productivity than you think. Though often an overlooked aspect of office interiors, installing correct lighting can make staff feel more relaxed and focused while also creating an inviting atmosphere for guests. Consider good office lighting to also be an investment in your staff’s health and productivity. Poor office lighting ideas can cause health issues like migraines and fatigue which can lower their quality of work and effectiveness or even increase the number of sick days taken. Don't delay this investment; invest wisely today and your business will see no end of benefits.