If you’re concerned about the morale of your staff, there are some obvious considerations you probably want to make. Workload, compensation, benefits and work/life balance are all extremely important factors in how people feel about their jobs. In turn, their moods can have a significant impact on how they approach tasks and the amount of effort they expend.
Aside from these apparent influencers, there are some aspects of employee satisfaction that are more subtle, though no less important. One of these involves the amount and type of lighting in your building.
Studies have found a connection between productivity and lighting in the workplace. When the illumination provided is not right for the environment or task, workers may become distracted, strain their eyes or lose enthusiasm for their jobs.
Understanding the effects of indoor lighting on mood and cognition is critical for managers or business owners who want to maximize the output received from their workforce. Here are a few of the most important ways in which the lights you choose can influence how employees think and feel.
First and foremost, the purpose of office lighting is to allow everyone to see what they’re doing. If workstations are not properly lit, it means personnel have to spend more time and energy just to see each task. It also creates a higher potential for mistakes, which can lead to costly corrections and duplicated efforts.
For example, insufficient lighting in a warehouse environment can cause workers to pick the wrong items or misread labels. In offices, not being able to read documents effectively means crucial details may be missed. In addition, eyestrain can be a major cause of fatigue. Poor illumination forces people to squint or overwork their eyes to see what they are doing.
When workers tire quickly or have to stop to rest their eyes frequently, it can cost a business more than just time. Having the proper brightness level — measured in lumens — is necessary to help prevent these issues. In general, offices require lighting that provides at least 500 lumens.
Enhancing the Mood
Happier team members tend to be more productive. LEDs produce bright light that delivers more lumens per watt than other types of lighting. Although natural light is best at triggering the cortisol production in our brains that help stabilize our emotions, modern energy-efficient options for artificial lights are more effective at mimicking the qualities of sunlight.
For instance, LEDs are capable of producing a wider range of correlated color temperature (CCT) than incandescent or fluorescent bulbs. This is important because of the effect CCT has on our bodies’ Circadian rhythm. If the light is too warm, it can trigger a sleep response in our brains, making us feel tired.
It is generally recommended that workplaces install lighting that delivers a consistent CCT between 3,500 and 5,000 Kelvin because this is closer to natural light. This stimulates our minds and promotes alertness. In this way, LEDs can help reduce stress and improve the morale in your building. Knowing how lighting affects mood may be one of the most critical steps to take toward a happier workplace.
Creating the Right Environment
One of the biggest problems with a commercial lighting setup is that it tends to be a one-size-fits-all solution. Fluorescent tubes are either on or off, with no variation between those states. Unfortunately, people have different levels of comfort and needs.
Standard lighting can lead to employees adjusting their computer screens to avoid glare when the light is too bright. When there is too little light, they end up bringing in desk lamps from home or relying on floor lamps to create the atmosphere that works best for them. These may seem like minor modifications, but when they are compounded, they could result in irritation and a noticeable effect on how people feel about their jobs.
Taking Positive Steps
Now that you know how vital good lighting is for the overall efficacy of your workplace, what can you do about it? One of the best steps you can take is to increase the amount of daylight that enters your space. Adding skylights and clearing windows could make a tremendous difference. If that’s not sufficient for your needs, consider replacing your existing tubes with an energy-efficient LED Volumetric Retrofit or Light Panel Retrofits from Litetronics — available in SMART, Adjustable Wattage and Tri-Level Dimming options.
We have extensive experience helping commercial clients transform their properties while saving them a substantial amount on their utility. We also offer unique solutions such as our smart troffer, which enables you to change the intensity of the light with a few taps on a smartphone app, depending on the situation. This way, employees who need more light and those who prefer a little less can have their individual areas customized to their preferences.
To learn more about everything we have to offer, get in touch with us today.