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Office Lighting and its Effect on Your Health

American office workers spend a third or more of each weekday at the office. Are you setting up your employees to work productively, or does spending hours at the office drain their energy levels?

You have many options for ensuring the good health and productivity of your employees, but you can’t forget about the effect of office lighting. Sitting under fluorescent lights all day is no substitute for sunshine and fresh air. When these aren’t an option, installing the right office lighting is the next best thing.

Lighting Temperatures and Colors

It might surprise you to learn that the type of lighting in a room can affect your physical and mental well-being. It all comes down to lighting temperatures (measured in Kelvin) and the way we perceive those temperatures. Here’s how it breaks down:

  • High color temperatures above 4,600K are considered “cool” or daylight colors. At midday when the sun is shining, the light measures about 5,000K, while an overcast day is about 7,000K. Daylight fluorescent lights are 6,300K.
  • Mid-range color temperatures from 3,100K to 4,600K are “cool white.” Early morning or late afternoon light is about 4,300K. Cool white fluorescent lights are 3,400K.
  • Lower color temperatures up to 3,000K are considered “warm” colors. The glow from a fire is about 2,000K. Warm white fluorescent lights are about 3,000K, while incandescent lights are closer to 2,500K.

Which Light Temperature is Best?

According to experts, cool light closer to the color of the midday sun is best for productivity. Natural light is beneficial for anyone, especially office workers cooped up inside all day. Exposure to natural light is shown to decrease depression and boost energy, alertness, and productivity. To enjoy these benefits in your office, try to carry natural light into the building as much as possible by incorporating a lot of glass into the design.

When Natural Light Isn’t an Option

Whether many of your workers are situated where natural light can’t reach or you must rely on artificial lighting when the sun goes down, the best lights for workspaces are “blue-enriched” and measure 17,000K.

This cool lighting increases productivity by supporting mental acuity and vitality. This type of lighting also inhibits melatonin production, a hormone that makes you feel tired, thus decreasing fatigue and daytime sleepiness. There’s even evidence to suggest that spending time under blue-enriched light may be just as effective as bright light treatment for seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

On the other hand, warm lighting creates a sense of comfort because it’s associated with the glow of a warm fireplace. Therefore, you may want to use this type of lighting in intimate settings such as meeting rooms where you want everyone to feel calm and relaxed.

Mid-range lighting is best for spaces such as conference rooms where you want a friendly and inviting atmosphere that also encourages alertness and motivation from your employees.

Need Help Upgrading Office Lighting?

The professionals at Mr. Electric® can help you figure out the best fluorescent lights or other efficient lighting options for your business. We consider all the factors that are important to you, including aesthetics, costs, and the health and productivity of your employees. As noted earlier, you don’t need to install the same type of lighting throughout your entire office. In fact, you may get better results if you cater the type of lighting to the activities performed in that particular room.

If you think your office could benefit from a lighting change, contact Mr. Electric today for help getting started.