The Effect of Lighting on Productivity

It’s very  likely that you’re reading this blog indoors with the lights on. For most of us nowadays, we get to spend most of our days indoors soaking in a blend of both natural and artificial light. Over the years we’ve learned that our responsiveness to light is called the  circadian cycle and it explains our 24- hour biological cycle. This cycle is affected mainly by light but other forces of nature also come into play such as temperature.

So how can architects play a role in manually improving our cycles if that’s the case?

To put it simply, all of our activities are carried out during day time and then we relax during the evening so to imitate that kind of light researchers recommend using brighter lights during the day and dimmer lights during the night.

How does this work? 

There’s logic behind it of course, let’s talk some physics, the numerical measurement of color is Kelvin and it calculates the color that is emitted when an object is heated and that color changes as the temperature rises producing what is known as the color temperature. 

Warm lights make us more relaxed while cooler lights make us more alert and focused and according to Forbes, by following that pattern, the level of happiness and productivity will increase in the workplace.

Here are some of the bad effects bad lighting can have on the body:

1. Headaches 

Obviously having migraines would prevent your employees from doing productive work and one of those causes might be harsh overhead lighting. On the contrary dimmer light would cause them to fall asleep.

2. Poor Sleep and strained eyes

It all comes down to the circadian cycle we mentioned earlier, using the right colors that matches the normal pattern of sunlight is a great influence. It’s been proven that blue light affects the sleeping cycle causing restless sleep because nowadays the last thing we do before falling asleep is checking our phones. But blue light is really effective when used correctly, such as in meeting rooms, factories and even restaurants’  kitchens because employees are expected to be efficient and focused.

3. Increasing Fatigue 

A tired employee will often look for distractions such social media and videos but having the right lighting system will prevent time loss 

Those are some of the ways that promote ergonomic success:

1. The use of ambient Lighting

Usually found in meeting rooms, hallways and receptions because it causes better illumination.

2. Task lighting

Better used for areas that need specific light direction, such as reading or relaxing.

3. Positioning your office furniture correctly

Its recommended to place the furniture in the opposite direction of the artificial light to avoid strained eyes and headaches

It might be impossible to control the lighting wherever you go but being aware of it’s side effects on our body will at least make you think twice about buying a cheap lamp for your home or falling asleep watching netflix on your phone.