Farewell Fluorescents: Harnessing Natural Lighting in the Workplace

This guest post about lighting in the workplace comes from Katie Laird of Blinds.com. If you want to submit your own guest blog, first read the guidelines here.

For optimal workspace lighting, there’s nothing like the original source: the sun. The benefits of natural lighting in the workplace go beyond just aesthetics. In fact, good lighting in the workplace can benefit employee and employer alike. But a room bathed in sunshine isn’t always an option in today’s offices. Here’s a look at how to best harness sunlight and choose artificial lighting in the workplace to maximize mood and efficiency.

How Lighting Affects Us at Work

When impressionist Claude Monet painted a series of masterpieces of the Cathedral of Rouen, he insisted on visiting at different times of the day, in differing amounts and kinds of light, to make sure he could capture the holy place’s changing faces. He knew that the sun had the power to change perception and spark creativity.

Lighting in the Workplace

Indeed, natural light has proven to improve productivity and mood. In fact, studies have shown that lighting in the workplace can affect employees’ performance and quality of life both inside and outside of the office. Consider these points when choosing office lighting:

• Sunlight helps the body produce serotonin, a chemical in the brain that lifts a person’s mood. And as most managers can attest, satisfied employees are harder-working employees.

• Research has shown that extended exposure to fluorescent lighting causes eye strain and headaches in humans. Imagine the exponential effect this has when a human’s concentration is focused on a computer screen in a windowless box of a building.

When a workspace is bathed in warm and natural light, the window inspires the worker—the artist—to produce and perfect their craft.

How Window Treatments Help Make the Most of Natural Light

Flexibility is key when designing a natural light setting in a workspace. With a coordinated system of custom blinds and shades, you hold the power to change and enhance natural light all day long. Here are some ways to harness the natural light in the office to work best for employees:

• Need to shut out the world for a presentation or meeting? Choose a routeless blind with no cord holes to let in light, in a “blackout” style. Then just pull the blinds closed, and the team can block out potential interruptions and distractions.

• Time for a creative brainstorm? Encourage open minds by pulling back the blinds, letting in natural light and igniting imaginations.

• Want an inviting, yet private meeting with a client? Consider an opaque shade, where light fills the room but doesn’t allow others to peek in.

• Looking for the ultimate in flexibility? When you want the best of both worlds, choose top-down/bottom-up shades. This style can cover only the bottom portion to let in light at the top, while keeping the environment intimate and private.

Many of the best ideas in any company filter from the mailroom to the boardroom. The same exists when controlling light in a workspace, as top-down/bottom-up shades. The brighter light will filter through the top, drawing the eye upward, instead of allowing the focus to be on the feet. This can literally change the posture of employees, guiding them to look up, rather than down.

How to Choose Lights When the Sun Goes Down

The workday often lasts longer than the sun, especially during the shorter days of winter. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then copying the sun makes the most sense. That’s where LED lighting comes in.

Compared to fluorescents, LEDs are more energy efficient, last longer and can produce warmer lighting tones (be sure to choose LEDs with a rating of 3000 Kelvins or less if you want warm light that mimics incandescents).

LEDs are also quiet, allowing you to avoid the hum and crackle of fluorescent bulbs. They don’t contain mercury or require frequent maintenance, and they can be dimmed and focused.

To achieve the best possible lighting for office productivity, rely on the sun whenever possible. Harness its natural illumination with quality blinds, supplemented with tasteful, effective LED lighting, and your employees’ mood and creativity just might soar. Monet would be proud.

About the author

Katie Laird is the Director of Social Marketing for Blinds.com and a passionate home decorator for her family with a love of all things Mid-Century Modern and blue. Blinds.com carries a wide selection of window blinds to help keep privacy in your office.


Topics: Industry Insights, workplace design, lighting

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