The importance of lighting in the office
When designing an office layout, picking furniture and deciding on open or closed floor plans may take the bulk of your attention. However, less tangible elements, specifically lighting, are just as important to consider.
The impact of natural light
Open floor plans are ideal in that they allow for greater flow of daylight from windows. A study published in the Journal of Sleep and Sleep Disorders Research discovered that exposure to natural light in an office space impacts employees’ quality of life. Individuals who sat near windows reported getting on average 46 more minutes of sleep a night than their peers who didn’t sit near windows. What’s more, window-sitters scored higher than on quality-of-life surveys than others.
This study highlights the necessity and benefit of ensuring your office floor plan provides adequate natural light. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to incorporate an open layout into the space. However, it does mandate including windows in your plans. For instance, using glass walls to divide offices instead of dry wall allows for more natural light flow. Additionally, installing skylights if you’re able is another way to get more natural light into your office.
Bright is better
While natural sources are optimal, having artificial light in your office is better than not enough overall illumination. As such, consider how bright you want your office to be and how you can achieve it. From including an adequate amount of fixtures to placing them strategically to illuminate desks, you can plan a lighting scheme that brightens the office. Make sure you know how bright different fixtures get and where they spill their light. Dimmer fixtures will require you to install more, whereas bright fixtures fill more area.
Combine natural and artificial
Studies show that natural light is decidedly better on morale, energy and stress levels than artificial light is, but you can’t avoid using the latter in an office space. Your best option is to combine the two. Make windows your primary source and supplement through lighting fixtures.
This requires strategic planning. You’ll have to make sure light from the windows can move throughout the space. A space planner can help you decide where to build walls, what materials to use and where to place furniture to optimize the light your office gets.
“Desaturated colors reflect light more than dark shades do.”
Rethink your paint color
The two obvious light sources are windows and fixtures, but you can use those two and make reflection a tertiary source. Desaturated colors reflect light more than dark shades, so painting your walls in white or pale colors will make the room seem brighter than painting in rich tones will.
Use this information strategically. For instance, paint an area of the office that tends to be dark a bright color to bring some light to the space.
Metallic surfaces and mirrors also reflect light, and they can be used to further brighten your office. What’s more, they appear decorative and can make the office feel homier – something else that will perk up your employees.
Don’t forget task lighting
So far, our tips have served to help you overall brighten your office, but including task lighting is also important. Task lighting refers to fixtures that provide concentrated light in a specific area so that employees can see what they’re doing clearly. Don’t overlook this type of illumination as you plan your office.
A bright, illuminated office not only makes it easier for employees to see, but it also improves productivity and quality of life. For this reason, planning your lighting scheme should go hand in hand with designing your office layout and picking quality furniture.