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Is your workspace ‘lit’?

Well-lit offices can boost the overall productivity at workplaces and simultaneously help you save up on the monthly energy bills and improve the overall outcome of your company.

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Lighting — the good, the bad, and the ugly — believe it or not, can have a significant impact on your concentration and your productivity, especially in workspaces. In fact, you can boost your workforce’s health, well-being and productivity with just the flick of a switch.

The Link Between Lighting and Productivity

Productivity is massively affected when you are in a properly illuminated environment. A very famous story of a postal service office in Reno, USA is a great example of this. In the late ’80s, their employees complained of strain in their eyes and constant irritation due to the lights. After a complete renovation, the office not only saved $50,000 in electricity bills early, their productivity boosted their revenue by half a million dollars. 

A study by the World Green Building Council revealed that workers exposed to daylight are 18% more productive. But with most workspaces being indoors, you can also leverage artificial lighting to directly or indirectly enhance an employee’s performance.

According to a recent study by Philips, there is a direct link to the lighting in a workplace and a person’s circadian rhythms. 

What is a circadian rhythm? It’s a 24-hour internal body clock that tells us when to sleep and when to wake. This internal clock directly takes its cues from our environment, predominantly by light like the sun. However, human beings have evolved at an alarming pace that has resulted in us taking cues from artificial sources too. Cooler light makes one more alert, whereas warmer lights induce relaxation. (These warm/cool lights are measured in kelvin)

However, altering light kelvin without proper knowledge can be detrimental to the health of employees, and this must be done only after consulting an expert with the right knowledge.

The Negative Impact of Badly Lit Workspaces

Workspace lighting is often overlooked, and a poorly lit office can cause a variety of adverse effects on health and productivity. Bad lighting includes insufficient light on the task, uneven lighting, too bright natural/artificial lighting, high reflectance of surfaces, strong shadows, reduced contrast of work because of veiling reflections and flicker. If any of them seem familiar, you might want to rethink the lighting arrangement of your workspace.

A few common negative impacts of a badly lit workspace are headaches and migraines, lack of or poor sleep, strained eyes and visual discomfort, fatigue and drowsiness.

Tailoring Your Office Lighting for Better Productivity

Here are a few recommendations that would help you improve your lighting solutions:

  1. Ceiling suspended or indirect lighting is preferred over a downlighting system as it has proven to cause fewer problems of screen glare and tired eyes.

  2. You can design questionnaires for your employees as their feedback can get you a step closer to the optimal workspace lighting; tailored to their needs. 

  3. Every individual is different and so are their lighting needs. That’s why the best solution is to opt for flexible lighting. It allows one to dim overhead lights, individual lights and lamps that can be turned on or off based on the employee’s preference and type of work. 

  4. Furniture can play a significant role when trying to combat negative artificial lighting. You can arrange your office furniture against the artificial lighting; resulting in the reduced intensity of artificial lighting.

One of the biggest questions involved with office lighting is how many lights you need. To work that out, first, you need to understand how many lumens (unit of light produced by a light bulb) you need. To determine the needed lumens, you need to multiply your room square footage by your room foot-candle requirement. 

For example, a 100 square foot living room, which needs 10-20 foot-candles, will need 1,000-2,000 lumens.


Well-lit offices can boost the overall productivity at workplaces and simultaneously help you save up on the monthly energy bills and improve the overall outcome of your company.

To achieve revenue jumps, companies are now refurbishing their offices by investing in effective lighting systems. It may sound like it is heavy on their pockets, but in reality, it has an array of benefits. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Rhea Mehta

The author is Founder, Rhea Mehta Design

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