We all know the depressing feeling of being cooped up in a windowless room, with nothing but florescent lighting to light to space. Studies show that this environment, on a consistent and daily basis, can be detrimental to your health, mood and productivity. Workplace lighting is an essential component of your day and ought to be tackled seriously.
The good news is, whether you work at a cubicle desk or in your own home office, there are several tips and tricks you can use to reduce unnecessary mood swings and improve your work output!
Workspace Light and Mood
Researchers at the Interdepartmental Neuroscience program at Northwestern University, report that working in a windowless environment can be catastrophic to employee well-being. They say, “there is a strong relationship between workplace daylight exposure and office workers’ sleep, activity and quality of life.” Needless to say, this is a pressing issue.
Another study investigated the effects of natural elements and direct and indirect sunlight exposure to mental health and work attitudes, “natural elements and sunlight exposure related positively to job satisfaction and organizational commitment, and negatively to depressed mood and anxiety.” Additionally, “Direct sunlight was a dominant predictor of anxiety; indirect sunlight was a dominant predictor of depressed mood, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment.”
What does this mean?
Simply put, light – ideally natural lighting – has a direct relationship with stress, depression and job satisfaction. Lighting has a direct impact on your mood, behaviour, and even hormonal balance.
Office Lighting and Productivity
Dim, artificial lighting can be detrimental to your productivity. Dim and fluorescent lighting has been known to cause:
Drowsiness and a lack of focus
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or seasonal depression
Insomnia and other sleep disorders
Getting natural sunlight is the best way to absorb Vitamin D. Watch this video for more:
Many companies are undergoing expensive lighting renovations to address these issues. They see the initial financial costs as a direct investment in future corporate productivity. With light being the key component of vision, which makes up 80 to 85 percent of our perception of the world around us, it’s not difficult to see why ignoring proper lighting strategies can have a negative impact on employee output.
Lightening Up Your Workspace
It’s hard to be productive and lead healthy lives when we’re surrounded by bright artificial fluorescent lighting. Ideally, we should be sitting by a window. If this isn’t possibly, use a desk lamp with a dimmer – you might want more than one for optimal lighting. If you work in an office, it never hurts to ask your boss to change the angle of your cubicle to allow for more natural sunlight. As stated earlier, this will not only improve your workplace satisfaction, but also boost your work output and productivity.
Next, try incorporating nature into your workspace. Our bodies are designed to be outside most of the day – being cooped up in an office space is not natural. It’s no wonder sitting in an office all day comes with a whole host of health problems, like stress and inflammation. Try adding some plants to your desk to boost your workspace air quality and mood. Even if you don’t have a green thumb or knack for planting, adding some succulents to your desk can do wonders for your productivity.
Don’t want plants around? Get creative and try incorporating nature in other ways – like bamboo desk accessories or stone paper weights.