By: First Union
The Lighting In Your Workplace
As business owners, we are constantly striving for safer and more productive workspaces for our employees. Over the years, office trends have come and gone, each one promising higher rates of happiness and retention in your company. One day we are supposed to let everyone wear headphones, and the next we should be playing classical music in the hallways. While every business owner strives to create a hospitable space for their employees to operate, one thing remains of the utmost importance to health and productivity: lighting.
Employee mental health is at the forefront of the business owner’s minds, as it has been proven again and again that healthy and happy employees perform better overall. But how do we get there? How do we create the best possible work environment for those who spend more time in the office than at home? A simple change you can make today for the betterment of everyone in your office is your lighting.
Humans are creatures of light and darkness, literally. Since the dawn of time, the cycle of day and night has determined everything from our sleep cycle to eating habits. Why then do we think that we can hang up some huge fluorescent lights and work through the night without repercussions? Modernity has created an entirely new mood disorder due to lighting called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD/). It's caused by the shorter days in the winter and reduced hours of sunlight that brings on depression in human beings. All this being said, lighting is important.
Exposure To Natural Light
Circadian rhythm is an internal process in human beings where your body regulates the sleep-wake cycle. It’s a 24-hour cycle that tells you when you should be sleeping and when you should be awake. Humans have developed this cycle over the course of our existence by the cycle of the sun. This is why natural light is so important to our success. When the circadian rhythm is out of sync we may be working when our body thinks it's time to be asleep. Of course, this will lead to frustration, tiredness, and low productivity. When you are surrounded by artificial light during a time when it would naturally be dark, it can throw your whole system out of whack.
Using natural lighting in your office space, whether at work or home, should be prioritized. If you are searching for office space, take note of the windows and how much light is coming in. For optimizing your circadian rhythm you need exposure to sunlight every day. While being outside is best, big, open windows in the office can help. Modern life does not allow us to schedule around the rising and setting of the sun, but a little attention paid may go a long way.
When You Can’t Have Natural Light
Understandably, natural light is not always an option. While you may incorporate it as much as possible, you can still optimize your use of artificial light. Studies have shown that blue-enriched light has similar effects of natural light. This is called cool lighting, as opposed to softer, warm lighting and has blue undertones instead of red/yellow. Cool lighting in the office can increase productivity by stopping the production of melatonin in the brain- the hormone that makes you fall asleep. It is the closest replication of the mid-day sun. Remember SAD? Bright light is used for the treatment of SAD and can reduce the negative effects of the disorder.
In 2019, scientists developed a life-sized model of what office workers may look like in 20 years. Her name is Emma, and she does not look good. She was meant to show how unhealthy workplaces will affect us in the future, and the results were unsettling. Emma is hunchbacked from sitting at a desk all day and is riddled with carpal tunnel, swollen ankles, and Eczema. In fact, she even has dry, red eyes and sallow skin from being over-exposed to artificial light all her career. If we do not take the health and safety of ourselves and our employees seriously, this may be the future we have to look forward to. So, open those windows and dim the lights.
Need Help Installing New Lighting?
First Union Lending can help you with the funds you need to get your workplace healthy. Give us a call at 863-625-5626. With numerous funding options available, our specialists are ready and able to find the best fit for your company’s needs.