Is Your Office Lighting Working Against You?
You wouldn’t expect an employee to dig a tunnel from Brooklyn to Manhattan using only a plastic spoon, but you may be overlooking smaller equipment deficiencies that are hurting your bottom line. In a Gallup survey, less than one-third of employees strongly agreed their companies provided adequate resources for them to do their job well. The sharpest decline in employee engagement happens after the first six months as a result of employees feeling they are not given the tools and supplies they need to succeed. Why does employee engagement matter? It has been shown to affect not only company profitability, but also have a positive impact on customer retention, employee turnover, and shrinkage due to theft.
The right office lighting can improve employee engagement by decreasing fatigue and eye strain. Parabolic light fixtures typically shine 90-100% of their light downward, creating a “cave effect” by leaving the top of the walls darker than the floor and work areas. Eliminate this problem by updating parabolic fixtures to lensed indirect fixtures. Lensed indirect fixtures typically shine 90-100% of their light upward, which is then reflected off the ceiling onto the workspace, lighting the room more evenly. Indirect lighting fixtures may be suspended from the ceiling on pendants or aircraft cable, or recessed into ceiling. Indirect lighting gives the illusion of a brighter room by eliminating the shadows created by parabolic fixtures.
Participants in studies at Xerox and Cornell University experienced less workspace glare and screen glare under lensed indirect light fixtures. Employees under the parabolic lights complained about tired eyes and problems focusing twice as often as their coworkers. On average, they were ten times more likely to report an hour or more of productivity loss each week as a result of tired eyes and the inability to maintain focus. Participants in small, windowless offices with parabolic lighting were the most affected. Over 75% of those participants altered the parabolic fixtures during the experiment by disconnecting one or more bulbs, covering the fixture, or adding other modifications. By the end of the experiment, none of the participants sitting under indirect lighting had attempted to modify the light fixture or their workspace.
A hybrid direct/indirect option is also available. These computer friendly lights have a perforated shield to give a soft, even illumination with an increased perception of brightness. Since most of the light is directed at the ceiling, it is a less harsh alternative to parabolic light fixtures. Sizes range from the 2 ft. PLT 2 lamp recessed fluorescent and Cooper 3 lamp recessed fluorescent to the 4 ft. Lithonia 2 lamp fluorescent troffer. If you’re looking for an energy efficient option, the PLT 2 x 4 LED recessed troffer operates 2 LED T8 lamps.
Make this the year you improve employee engagement and productivity; visit 1000bulbs.com to get started. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to post in the comments area below. You can also contact us through Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, or Pinterest.
- State of the American Workplace, Gallup 2013