Lighting is one of the most important elements of your office, but it’s also one of the most overlooked when it comes to office planning. Poor quality lighting can have a detrimental impact on the mental wellbeing and overall productivity of you and your employees, and it’s actually so simple to get right. So if you’re ready for better moods, higher morale and even a higher quality of sleep, then follow these five tips below for better office lighting.
1. Natural light over everything else
Before we even start talking about artificial lights, we should mention that natural daylight is the best kind of office lighting you could hope for. And it’s free!
Allowing natural light to stream into your office through big wide windows will instantly make your office look and feel not only brighter, but also more welcoming. Rather than your staff feeling closed in and cut off, your goal should be to encourage a connection between them and the outside world whilst they work. And it’s not without its fantastic benefits.
- That office workers with windows had 46 more minutes of sleep per night than those who didn’t
- Workplaces with good lighting had an up to 40% increase in sales and productivity
- 15% of staff were found to be more creative
- Natural light improves moods, reduces stress and positively impacts the functioning of the circadian system
With all that in mind, when it comes to designing your next office refurbishment or choosing your next premises, make sure big windows is at the top of your priority list. Also think about where your staff’s desks will go, and keep them as close to the windows as possible.
2. Opt for LEDs
For a long time now, the lighting of choice for offices up and down the country has been the fluorescent tube. After all, they’re incredibly cheap to both buy and fit, they’re suitable for suspended ceilings and can be used to light large office spaces.
But there’s another price to pay. Some of the most common problems with fluorescent lighting includes annoying flickering, bulbs dimming with age causing inconsistent quality of light, and buzzing. So in reality, they aren’t really the ideal choice for workplaces.
There is a better alternative; LED lighting. While some people consider LED lights to be an expensive option for commercial properties, they are actually far cheaper in the long run and are much better for the wellbeing of your employees. LEDs are also much more energy efficient than fluorescents and other bulbs like HID. They also last longer and use less wattage. An added bonus is that they don’t contain mercury and other chemical nasties that are harmful to the environment, and also found in fluorescents.
3. Allow people to personalise lighting
Open plan offices can be fantastic, and they’re also an incredibly popular layout for businesses. But they can also present different problems, including what to do about lighting.
Because everything is open, as the name suggests, the typical solution is to flood the room with overhead artificial lights which have to be strong enough to illuminate the desks below. This can cause over-illumination and high levels of glare, which can lead to energy wastage and have a detrimental impact on people’s health.
To combat this, offer each of your employees the opportunity to personalise the lighting at their desk. Lampshades can help to soften and scatter harsh light, whilst also allowing employees to point it wherever suits them. On the other hand, upward shining lamps on the floor can bounce light off the walls and ceiling, helping to solve the direct glare problem.
4. Different light for different areas
Lighting is the perfect way to not only complement your overall office design, but it’s also another way to get your brand values across. And just because you’re in an open plan office, it doesn’t mean you can’t mix things up.
Here are a few ways that you can tweak the lighting in your office to suit different areas better:
- Hang spotlights in corridors to help direct people to different rooms or parts of the office
- Oversized pendant lamps situated above large tables – such as conference rooms or even specific parts of an open plan office – can help disperse light more evenly
- For booths or smaller meeting nooks, consider low lighting to help the element of privacy
- Lounges and breakout areas are the perfect place to experiment with some funkier lighting designs. Think accent lighting on shelves, bulbs of different shapes and sizes, and different coloured bulbs
- When choosing the lighting for your office, why not add flexible features such as dimmer switches to allow your staff to have control over light levels and area moods?
5. Add decorative features
Lighting is primarily functional in the office, but it’s also an additional way to decorate and bring a bit of personality to your four walls. Once you’ve got the lighting sorted for work areas, why not consider adding a few accent pieces to help improve character?
Try illuminating any pictures or artwork you have on the walls or draw attention to specific areas of the room. Wall sconces are also a fantastic way to add that upward lighting we were talking about, whilst also adding a decorative touch to the office space.