A SURVEY has revealed that there is a psychological effect, if not a biological one, from lighting in the workplace
An overwhelming 77 per cent of office workers believe that lighting in the workplace affects their productivity, with 33 per cent saying that access to natural light is important and 32 per cent saying they would be happy to work under artificial light that is designed to aid productivity.
Full disclosure: The survey of 1,000 adults was conducted by UK online retailer LED Hut, so you might expect this sort of finding as a way to promote sales of commercial light fittings.
That aside, it’s notable that the vast majority of respondents are predisposed to connect office lighting conditions with their own output at work.
The survey results suggest that whatever lighting’s direct biological effects are, humans at least psychologically react to illumination.
The results are more grist for the ever-expanding mill of human-centric lighting, which maintains that lights tuned to output at different brightness levels and with varying spectral content are optimal for different tasks and occasions, such as working, learning, paying attention, relaxing, waking up and so forth.
In human-centric lighting designs, settings vary over the day to correspond with humans’ 24-hour circadian rhythms.
While a direct link to productivity has probably not yet been absolutely proven, anecdotal evidence and common sense strongly suggests that when a workforce is happier with lighting conditions, it is also more inclined to produce.
‘There are smart lighting solutions available to help achieve an appropriate blend of natural and artificial light which are adaptable for both the home and in the workplace,’ said Paul Garner, e-commerce and marketing director for LED Hut, based in Manchester.
The science of human-centric lighting is still evolving. A couple of its basic tenets hold that blue spectral content at night can harm sleep because it suppresses melatonin, a hormone associated with slumber; and that blue-enriched light can stimulate a pigment called melanopsin in the retina’s non-visual photoreceptors, which in turn stokes up the brain’s master clock and thus fosters alertness.
Human-centric lighting is beginning to take hold in the workplace, but it has made more inroads in healthcare environments. For example, specially designed LED lighting has helped reduce drug reliance at a psychiatric ward, has been linked to improved dementia care such as facilities based in Denmark, Germany, and the UK.
The LED Hut survey also found that at home 31 per cent of respondents believe lighting is important when creating a relaxed and calm atmosphere before going to bed in the evening, and that 38 per cent feel that morning bedroom lighting can help them energise them.
- Learn more about lighting in workplaces at the LuxLive 2019 exhibition, taking place on Wednesday 13 November and Thursday 14 November 2019 at London ExCeL. Entry is free. See the full programme and register for a place HERE.
- First published in LEDs Magazine. Mark Halper is a contributing editor for LEDs Magazine, an energy, technology and business journalist and a mean saxophone player.