The Impact of Lighting on Employee Wellbeing and Productivity
Different colour temperatures
It is well known that the colours, layout and design of an office can influence employees’ moods and feelings. However, businesses may also want to consider different lighting temperatures. These act as a form of ambient intelligence, creating a certain atmosphere for the workspace and strengthening staff members’ abilities. Indeed, recent studies found that LED lights can help people read 5% faster and write with fewer spelling mistakes.
Colour temperature, measured in Kelvin (K), relates to the type of light emitted from a material as it is brought to increasingly higher temperatures. Confusingly, light of a higher colour temperature (4600K to 6500K) is referred to as ‘cooler’ due to the bluish nature of its hew. Similarly, ‘warmer’ light, which varies from tones of red and yellow, is of a lower degree Kelvin (between 2000K and 3000K).
Rob Holroyd, digital marketing manager at LampShop Online, said: “During winter, when the clocks go back and we are faced with shorter days, it can be easy for employees’ moods to drop, which can ultimately affect the working environment and productivity.
“However, this can be avoided by investing in lights that can complement staff members’ body clocks and help them feel creative, upbeat and energetic.
“LED lights give businesses the opportunity to create an atmosphere that perfectly reflects the work that the company does and to get the best outcome from their employees.”
Cool lights with blue tones limit fatigue by suppressing melatonin, the hormone that makes people feel sleepy. This temperature can encourage alertness, which is likely to reduce the number of mistakes employees make and motivate them to produce a higher standard of work. Cool blue temperatures are perfect for settings where employees are expected to fulfil detailed tasks and need to concentrate.
Create a trusted space
Lights with warm tones can create a comforting environment, calm people’s nerves and reduce feelings of anxiety. This could be ideal for a meeting room or a break room where employees can spend time and not feel stressed or under pressure.
What to avoid
Dim lighting is reportedly one of the issues employees most claim as being harmful to their productivity. Known to cause headaches and eye strain, it can lead to staff struggling to focus and complete usually simple duties. Harsh lighting can also have a similar effect and create a negative environment in the workplace.
Rob added: “Bad lighting can especially cause harm to and have a negative impact on the wellbeing of workers who spend a large portion of their time looking at a glaring computer screen.
“It is well known that daylight is the best form of lighting to motivate employees. However, through the darker months, this isn’t always possible so to prevent staff getting the winter blues, it is important to imitate it using artificial lighting.”
Change lighting through the day
Some businesses may decide to use dynamic colour temperatures to represent the changing colours of the sky and replicate natural daylight. Programmable lighting can influence employees biologically by mirroring their circadian rhythm (body clock), something which is particularly helpful to shift workers.
Rob said: “It could be effective to introduce a burst of bright light in the morning to energise employees, so that they are ready to conquer the day ahead of them. As the day goes on, gradually alter the lighting to a warmer colour.”