Getting the lighting right in your office will have a considerable impact on both the productivity of your staff, and the amount that you spend on energy. Some consideration should be given in advance of any investment in new lighting, as spending a little bit extra at the outset can result in lower running costs in the long-term – as well as a superior experience in the workplace.
Let’s first consider how we can get natural light into the workspace. From a health perspective, natural light is the best kind of light, as it confers a number of benefits. Windows should be as large as possible, and overhead to minimize shadows in corners. Bear in mind that direct light at certain times of day and year (and in certain parts of the country) can be a problem – but this can be corrected through the judicious use of blinds.
Artificial lights can’t be dispensed with, especially during winter-time. They come in several different configurations, of which the most popular is the LED light. LED lights offer efficiency ratings far in excess of their fluorescent counterparts, but they tend to be slightly more expensive. Over the lifespan of a bulb, however, this additional expense will be more than offset.
Light Emitting Diodes have been around for decades, but it’s only relatively recently that they’ve been made efficient and powerful enough for general use. It’s likely that diodes will form the basis for future lighting technologies, and that they’ll become more affordable as time goes on.
What Considerations Should I Make?
When you’re designing the lighting in your office, you should think about several distinct considerations.
Too much brightness can be a bad thing. It will produce glare on the surface of the monitors that your staff are using, it will use up more electricity, and it might even interfere with the sleep patterns of staff who are working in the evening.
- Color Temperature
Color temperature basically indicates how red or blue the bulb is. In practice, this means choosing between bright, sterile white, and ‘warm’ white. Color temperature is measure in kelvins, with warmer shades tending to promote feelings of relaxation, and cooler shades tending to make us more alert.
- Direct or Diffuse
If you’re working on a particular task at your desk, then you might want a lamp focusing light right where it’s needed. For general lighting, a more diffuse approach is preferable. In an office, you’ll need a combination of both.