Lighting an office space is an important part of ensuring the right atmosphere to support work and welcome visitors. It has been proven that people respond more positively to brighter lights, while dim lighting can cause restless sleep due to drowsiness during the day. Here’s how to get it right.
Natural light is one of the greatest assets any office can enjoy, plus it is free and easily accessible. Making sure you have plenty of windows – and that they are regularly cleaned and the blinds opened instantly brightens any room. The ideal set-up is for natural light to take priority in a room, with artificial lighting only used to boost light levels on dull days or to take over from daylight on wintery afternoons and evenings. Having plenty of natural light also lowers energy bills and boosts employee morale.
Many offices are now installing lighting control systems, designed to automatically react to available light in a room and adjust the settings to maintain the optimum level. They can dim or brighten light at the touch of a button and can also turn lights off when they are no longer needed, e.g. if there is no-one in the room. They are especially effective in less populated areas, such as toilets, corridors and meeting rooms.
Different parts of the office are used for different tasks and reasons, so it makes sense to plan the lighting according to how the area is going to be used. Open plan offices can benefit from individual desk lamps, as overhead lighting may not effectively illuminate each desk in the same way. Meeting areas can be divided up from the rest of the space by hanging large pendant-style lamps directly over the meeting table. Designers, graphic artists, proofreaders and others who regularly do very close up work may need extra strong lighting to avoid eye strain, while rest areas would benefit more from softer, warmer lighting to help people relax while on their break.
Installing LEDs is a great energy-saving move, and the perfect way to ensure amazing light quality at work. They are cheap to buy and easy to fit and do not fall prey to the annoying flickering or buzzing that can often come with fluorescent lighting. Your finance department will thank you, as they are cheaper to run and use less wattage than their traditional counterparts. They are better for the environment too, as they contain less mercury and harmful chemicals that are found in fluorescents.
Always make sure that emergency exit routes are fully lit at every stage. You may also like to install LED lights in the floor to mark the way out of the
building in an emergency. Keep torches somewhere easily accessible in the office. Equally important is people’s health and well-being, so make sure they glance away from PC screens regularly to avoid the strains that gazing looking into a lit-up screen for hours can bring. Encourage people to leave the building for a walk at lunchtime to get completely away from the artificial indoor light for a while.