How Natural and Artificial Lighting Affects Office Productivity

When setting up an office, we often take the effect of light for granted. You’d think that a couple of light fixtures here and there and some desk lamps would be enough, but the reality is that it’s not enough for your workers to see what they’re doing, they need the light to make them feel comfortable.

In fact, lighting is so important in the office that according to research, 77 percent of office employees believe that lighting affects the way they work, with 32% saying that they work better under artificial lighting and 33% saying that sunlight is important to productivity.

Both natural and artificial light have their own effects on our productivity. We take a closer look at how this happens.

Natural Light’s Effects on Office Productivity

Our bodies naturally react to sunlight in both good and bad ways. For one, we know that the sun’s UV rays stimulates the body to make Vitamin D, which is crucial for bone growth, blood cell production, and a health immune system. At the same time we know that too much exposure to sunlight can cause health problems—skin cancer being among the most serious.

As it turns out, sunlight is also a natural mood booster. According to a study by researchers from the Department of Design and Environmental Analysis at Cornell University, employees working in day-lit office reported an 84% reduction in symptoms of headaches, eyestrain, and blurred vision. They found that making the most out of what sunlight penetrates an office space also significantly improves wellness and health among office staff, leading to an increase in productivity.

As companies become more proactive in finding ways to empower their employees to become healthier and make them more productive, an office space that takes advantage of natural light is one of the best ways to keep them happy and stimulated.

Artificial Lighting’s Effects on Office Productivity

As lighting systems become more and more intelligent today, artificial lights can follow a more human-centric design so that they correspond with our natural circadian rhythms. For starters, artificial lighting in the office can be adjusted to match the optimal brightness needed for different occasions and tasks, such as  paying attention, learning, working, relaxing, and waking up.

Since artificial lighting can be dimmed or brightened to a specific intensity, this opens a world of lighting possibilities in the office. For one, you can use smart LED lights to automatically adjust to your office’s environment, dimming when the sun is at its brightest and increasing in brightness as the day gives way to night.

Although science behind human-centric lighting is still developing, a few basic principles are being applied in modern offices today. For example, as blue spectral light affects the production of melatonin, a hormone associated with sleep, bulbs that produce this type of light are best used in areas where work and tasks are done such as on the desk, work bench, and the production floor.

So whether you get illumination from a light bulb or from an open window, a well-lit office can make a world of difference to your employees and their ability to stay productive.