The professional environment: getting the lighting right

By 2017

How often do you hear that the lighting in an office gives a member (or members) of the team headaches? More often than not, we have to rely on fluorescent lighting, rather than daylight.

There has been extensive research done on the office environment which recommends basic principles for improving employee health and wellbeing through the best use of lighting, as well as other health and safety factors which need to be taken into consideration. The latter looks at potential risks in the environment and includes points such as the inclusion of emergency lighting, the avoidance of excessive differences in illuminance within an area and eliminating glare, flicker or stroboscopic effects.

The most important of the basic principles of lighting an office space is daylight. It’s essential to get as much as possible into a room, filling the whole space – and not just the area by the windows. It’s been shown that a person working at a desk in the middle of an office took more time off through sickness than a colleague working near a window. Factors for this included happiness and motivation.

Another element to consider is evening and night working. Daylight can now be created inside a building, so that wherever the working area is, employees are able to work to their maximum capacity in what feels like daylight – whatever the time of day.

Hot desking has become very popular in recent years, with employees often sharing a desk on different days. If they like a particular style of lighting, then it’s possible to allow it to change at that desk. This is very simple and ensures the employee has the right lighting to create a good working environment, regardless of where they choose to sit.

They say that first impressions make the biggest impact on a person – particularly in a reception area or entrance. It’s therefore important to also consider how your clients feel as they enter your building – avoid anything boring or dull and instead ensure your lighting creates an impact.

A different type of working environment to consider is within a warehouse or factory. There’s a lot of space in both of these areas, so the lighting must create the right atmosphere, but be energy efficient too. Through the use of control and the right lighting this can be achieved, as long as the tasks being performed and different zones are understood.

To create a lighting scheme that will benefit your employees and be energy efficient, take advice from a lighting designer – they’ll be able to look at the whole picture and consider all of the effects the lighting will have.