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6 lighting hacks for healthier,more productive workplaces

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6 lighting hacks for healthier,more productive workplaces

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It’s summer and there is light all around us — we take it for granted until those dark winter months come along. The sheer lack of sunlight can be depressing. Every year we experience this longing for summer,craving those long,bright days once we feel energetic and in a good mood. The sad news is,we have again passed the longest day of 2015,but the good news is that the perfect artificial lighting in your workplace can help you through. Very good lighting creates pleasant working conditions in a functional and atmospheric way. Satisfaction and efficiency will improve if you be sure you have sufficient daylight ingestion and a well-lit office space. Plus,your productivity will be positively affected by well-designed illumination. Artificial lighting that does not just help you see,but also meets your biological lighting requirements,is the future of office lighting. Here are six light hacks to keep you healthy and alert through these dark winter days.

Best Office Lighting

1 Create atmospheres where your ideas can develop

We are all attracted to light,and there isn’t any other medium that’s as large an influence on our bodies and minds as mild. Both daylight and artificial light play an integral role in our health and wellbeing. Increasingly,companies face the question of how they could improve staff wellbeing and generate a dynamic,creative and motivating atmosphere. The design of the office space plays a vital role,as evidenced by a study from Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering. The research shows that in businesses with a high standard of interior design,productivity can increase by up to 36 per cent. Who would not like to see their efficiency skyrocket? Additionally,in depth research from the Light Right Consortium,arrived at the conclusion that light raises productivity. Only around 70 per cent of the interviewees said that working at workstations with only downward lighting was comfortable. In comparison,91 per cent found that a light atmosphere with direct/indirect light and a high quantity of vertical lit surfaces pleasing. Furthermore,if the desk lighting is individually controllable,people feel motivated and work with greater accuracy. TIP: Create a light atmosphere with direct and indirect lighting. Avoid having only downwards-directed illumination.

knuckle desk lamp

Two Light for people,not just tasks

Lighting is often just seen as a requirement to enable us to see,but actually it has many more attributes than the obvious ones. We should move away from just thinking of light for jobs and concentrate on producing light settings for people. Today,most people work inside,and spends almost the whole day inside,in an unnaturally dark atmosphere. Our light intake is responsible for sleeping and feeling well,and affects our productivity. When there is a lack of natural light to help us tell the time of day,then our circadian rhythm (body clock) loses its pace,with tiredness and listlessness because of this. We always find ourselves surrounded by light. It is a lot more than just illumination. When this knowledge transcends to our built environment,pleasant atmospheres are created. Think of a trip to a theatre,a restaurant,or nightclub. These experiences are shaped by light. Very good lighting enhances the mood and desirability of spaces,consequently leading to people’s sense of health. Every construction and distance expresses and communicates an identity,and at times also a corporate value. Good lighting should be a part of this,because what other element can enhance an atmosphere as much as lighting can? TIP: Create a mixture of different lighting. This will guarantee flexible change of light atmosphere. Use illumination that affirms a space’s individuality

3 From homo sapiens to homo officunus

In the world today,we spend many hours working in biotopes — environment created by humans. Instead of trying to adapt ourselves to our creations,we should adapt these biotopes to our requirements. Sufficient light is one of these needs. Here are a few guidelines: Take the biological quality of light into consideration. It influences our sleep-wake cycle and this has a large influence on the health and productivity. Adapt the light to the daytime and season,as well as to the individual needs of the user. Vertical surface illumination,preferably on large wall surfaces,is vital to create a feeling of depth and space. Additionally,it gives a visual resting point for the eyes and provides a pleasant atmosphere to the working environment. Too often,office environments are insufficiently lit,not only from the perspective of biological light demands but also from an architectural one,where the space feels smaller because of inadequate lighting. The graph below shows how office workers assessed their working environments — showing which aspects are important to them and how satisfied they are with each aspect. As you can see,lighting is rated the most important of all the aspects mentioned,but there is loads of space for it to improve. TIP: Have a light for general illumination,a standing luminaire which uplights the ceiling and a desk light

4 Get the best place in the house

Are you based in a co-working space? Choosing the right place in the home can go a long way. Select a place with a lot of daylight. It is recommended that around three per cent daylight reaches a individual’s working area. However,in the majority of offices this is not the case. Daylight gives an emotional quality to a space and the option to look out is an added bonus. If you can,select a spot near the window. But make sure thatthere is sun shading to stop harsh reflections on your computer screen. TIP: Take the window seat,north,west or east facing

5 Light against the blues

About 80 per cent of allinformation is taken in through our eyes. Until recently it was believed that our eyes used two types of photoreceptors — rods and cones — to receive light,but a decade ago,a third type,called ganglion cells,was detected. Unlike rods and cones,these cells don’t contribute directly to our sight; they are nevertheless light dependent and help to regulate our circadian rhythm. So light is not just a prerequisite for seeing,but is also an important zeitgeber (timer) and a regulator for our own bodies. Unfortunately,we often don’t get the light consumption we really need,especially during the darker period of the year,leading to the winter blues or seasonal affective disorder (SAD) — a kind of depression associated with a lack of light. It leaves people feeling stressed and lacking energy. Many people who suffer from SAD benefit from bright light therapy. Even in a workplace setting,light treatment makes people feel more awake and energized. It is found that an illumination which goes up to 2000 lux in the working place in the morning and the day,reduces the physiological reaction of stress and gives an energising effect to the body. In comparison,most working areas are lit to a standard 500 lux. If you would like to check the quantity of lux at your desk,then download a lux meter program. It’s not very exact,but it gives you an idea on how little light we really have inside. Not only is a greater quantity of lighting required,but also the colour temperature of the light plays a role. The artificial lighting should correspond to the colour temperature of the daylight. At noon the sky’s colour is a very cool 10000K but at sunset it is a far warmer 2000K. Additionally light should reflect indirectly into the eyes from large surfaces,like walls and ceilings. TIP: Try to grab enough daylight at any time of the year. Go outside for a break,get off a stop earlier from the subway and walk the rest of the way into the office. You should have at least half an hour of daylight a day

midcentury modern lighting

6 Light,java,action!

A deadline and a lot of work beforehand,no time to sleep! As light can disrupt your sleeping pattern,it may also boost your activity. If you have alreadyfollowed the above-mentioned advice for biologically effective lighting than you’re already on the right path. If you need to pull an all-nighter,increase the light intensity and the quantity of bluish white light in the room. Almost done with your job? Change the atmosphere to warm,low-intensity lighting,which will calm you down. You may also have experienced that if you work late on a computer or pill it is difficult to sleep afterwards. The cause of this is the high blue content of the backlit displays. So use this light hack consciously. There are a number of applications you can install that correlate the screen’s brightness and colour,to the daylight of where you are. F.lux,by way of instance,works on many systems,or the Twilight program lowers the quantity of blue light on your own Android phone. TIP: Have different lamp types and colour temperatures in your working area. Warm light sources in your desk could be combined with general and indirect lighting with different colour temperatures,for example 3500K and 5000K.

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