Illuminating Effects of Poor Lighting At Work

Uncomfortable, unproductive, unhealthy, low morale and high turnover are some of the effects plaguing modern day building occupants.  Improper lighting is one of the culprits in creating a less than stellar experience within offices, schools, hospitals and industrial spaces.

Unfortunately, the impact of lighting on productivity hurts the bottom line for these institutions. This may be demonstrated in missed deadlines, fewer widgets, lower test scores, or lower quality of patient care.

Properly designed lighting is essential for a productive, happy building occupant, said National Council on Qualification for the Lighting Professions (NCQLP) Lighting Certified (LC)  engineer David Kluskens.

“Without aesthetically pleasing, correctly tuned and properly designed lighting, building occupants can be faced with eye strain, headaches, and difficulty accurately completing work,” he said. “It is hard for them to catch details, and pay attention when the lighting in their workplace isn’t designed to provide the proper workspace illumination.

Lighting has a significant impact, usually more than most realize, on how well a workplace is operating. With modern solutions and advancing technologies, lighting is now energy efficient and can save on energy costs while enhancing the workplace and boosting a business’s bottom line.

LED technologies and controls can be implemented to give users the best possible light with the most control for the space.

When designing a lighting layout, it is important for engineers to understand the recommended guidelines for illumination and to listen to the users of the space to understand any unique needs that may exist.  Users should, in turn, be transparent about how the space is used, who uses it, and when it is occupied most often. This allows lighting experts to create the environment building occupants desire and need in order to be most effective.

Daylighting, the use of natural light, can be designed to augment the lighting system and provide the opportunity to turn off lighting systems when a certain amount of daylight is present. Daylighting is important to stopping daytime dysfunction, said Ivy Cheung, a Neuroscience doctoral candidate at Northwestern University. Cheung studied the detrimental impact of working in a windowless environment during the study called “Impact of Workplace Daylight Exposure on Sleep, Physical Activity, and Quality of Life.” Cheung and fellow Northwestern researchers concluded that there is a strong relationship between workplace daylight exposure and office workers’ sleep, activity, and quality of life.

“The extent to which daylight exposure impacts office workers is remarkable,” said Cheung. “Day-shift office workers’ quality of life and sleep may be improved via emphasis on light exposure and lighting levels in current offices as well as in the design of future offices.”

Another way workplace environment can be improved is through window tinting. Tint allows daylight to come in while preventing glare on screens, hot spots near windows, privacy and security concerns as well as harmful UVA and UVB rays that cause skin cancer.

Whether it’s a brand new lighting design, controls, daylighting or window tint, there are ways leaders of private and public workforces can improve productivity, morale, health, and turnover. So flip the switch, illuminate facilities and improve the lives of your building occupants.


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