Lighting is one of the most commonly overlooked variables in the office. Whether at work or at home we often don’t think about it- most of us figure if we can see well and if it’s energy efficient, it will do- but surprisingly enough, lighting is something that can really make a difference in our quality of life, and in our productivity.
We know that lighting can affect our moods and even our personalities- and the right lighting can even make us more productive. In this blog, we’ll be looking at potential home office lighting setups for improving productivity. Below, we will discuss the science that exists on lighting, its effect on our moods and productivity, and some of the ways you can use it to your advantage.
Understanding Light as a Spectrum
Before we begin remodeling the lighting in our offices, we need to understand a bit more about the different spectrums of light and their measured effects. For those unfamiliar with lighting temperatures and color: temperature of light is measured in units of Kelvin(K), which is a numerical representation of the color of light that is emitted.
The lower color temperature light sources are called “warm”, and emit an orange, red, and yellow color. The higher color temperature light sources are called “cool” and emit a more violet and blue color. To more easily understand these distinctions on the spectrum we can break them into four everyday light sources:
● The glow from a campfire lighting is around 2,000K and is a warm color
● An average sunset is about 4,000K and is a cool white color
● A clear sunny day is about 5,000K and is a cool color
● An overcast day during winter is about 7,000k and a cool color
So what spectrum of light should we be using in our home offices, according to the science? Well, it turns out cooler lighting makes us more productive. Numerous studies have found that sunlight and cooler lighting can have many benefits on our health; especially those who spend a lot of time in the office, as we are at an inherent disadvantage when it comes to exposure.
Natural sunlight and cool light has been found to improve alertness, energy, mood, and productivity while decreasing depression. Cooler lights affect our production of melatonin, lowering it, and in turn they keep us alert in the same way coffee does, whilst simultaneously helping maintain circadian rhythms.
Light Your Home Office With Natural Light
These positive effects have brought about a shift in how we view office lighting. More and more offices are opting to add natural light, or cooler lights, as a result. Many office designers are well aware of this and they are opting for pane glass windows instead of walls, and skylights instead of tiles. The research is clear that offices with more natural light report a higher level of productivity and overall employee comfort
So, what can you do for your home office? The best commercial office designs tend to include large windows, atriums and skylights to bring daylight to as many desks and their occupants as possible, and your home office should be no different.
If possible, you should position your workspace near a window with your chair facing the incoming light. You may experience screen glare, but, you can offset this with an anti-glare film on your computer screen so you can have the benefits of natural, direct light without the drawbacks.
How to Light a Home Office Without Natural Light
What about the offices with no natural lighting? Spending the majority of our time in a static lighting environment can be harmful to our health due to its effect on our circadian rhythms. This is because we need more light in the mornings and less in the evenings.
Being positioned to follow the sun’s cycle with natural light is great for this, but if your office doesn’t allow for it, you should consider adding lighting that adapts to your needs based on the time of day. Installing “blue-enriched” light bulbs that are 17,000K, and therefore very cool, can provide many of the same benefits of natural sunlight.
The added benefit of alertness and mental acuity are critical in combating fatigue and daytime sleepiness. They are also shown to reduce eye strain and may eliminate light-induced migraines.
Beyond the installation of new overhead lights, personal light boxes of the same spectrum may be used in cubicles. Using multiple layers of indirect light as well as dimmers for nighttime can help you get the most out of your office lighting.
Home Lighting Solutions
It can be a bit daunting when you start looking into improving your office lighting. You may be intimidated by the specifics or the numerous options you have when it comes to choosing just the bulbs- let alone considering a construction project!
BIOS lighting makes productivity-focused lighting changes easy via their human-focused products. This page has various lighting products for different uses, including SkyBlue and Nightfall bulbs, intended to mimic natural light, and the SkyView Wellness Lamp– the perfect solution for smaller spaces with no available light fixtures.
Consider revamping your workspace and getting the most out of your lights while improving your overall health- explore the world of light based workplace science!
● What light makes us most productive?
Cool blue light has been shown to improve productivity, alertness, sleep, and our moods. It is the best substitute for sunlight.
● What biological system does light most affect in our bodies?
Our circadian rhythm is a biological system that regulates our alertness and sleep patterns. These cycles are directly influenced by our exposure to light; artificial and natural.
● How can I lessen the strain on my eyes from my computer screen?
The blue light emitted by our phone and computer screens can be offset by using ambient lighting. Ambient lighting softens the room overall aiding in strain reduction- you can also employ a screen guard.
● How can I supplement my lack of light exposure?
One of the easiest ways is to spend more time outside in sunlight. Alternatively you could use a lightbox as many do in the winter months- consider the SkyView Wellness lamp.