Working in an office that is too dark or even too bright, can cause a number of problems for employees. While it can be difficult to manage and maintain the best level of lighting, it is your responsibility to ensure offices are correctly lit for health and safety, and for the personal well being of your staff. Learn why office lighting is so important and how you can make sure you’re getting it right.
Why Is Lighting Important?
To create a safe and productive working environment for employees, it’s the employer’s responsibility to manage lighting, thermal comfort, safe noise and appropriate work space. On the matter of lighting, it is an especially important factor to get right.
1) Health And Safety
Employees need office lights in order to do their work and navigate safely around the office. Inadequate lighting increases the risk of an employee failing to see potential workplace hazards such as unsteady flooring and dangerous equipment. If an employee has a high risk job, like working with heavy machinery, lighting is required to help employees see sufficiently so they can conduct their job safely.
In relation to determining the causes of trips, slips and falls at work, insufficient lighting is considered as a potential environment factor.
2) Employee Wellbeing
Lighting at work is also considered to be one of many factors that can influence morale and productivity. Bad lighting or even too much lighting can cause unhappiness at work. Poor lighting can be responsible for eye strain, eye irritation, blurred vision, headaches and fatigue.
Inefficient lighting in an office can cause distractions, make it difficult for employees to concentrate and negatively affect overall results and production. The HSE claim that bad lighting can have a financial impact on businesses, such as employees taking time off due to accidents at work, more absentees and reduced productivity.
To positively manage employee retention, maintain employee morale and create a safe working environment, lighting should not be ignored.
How To Set Up Your Office Lighting Correctly – How To Get It Right
The problem with determining what is the best lighting for your office is the fact there is no definite answer. Each workspace is different and employees require a different amount of light, depending on the task they are working on.
Firstly, you need to assess what type of lighting your office needs. Offices do not require powerful lighting like you would expect to see in factories and warehouses. With regards to health and safety, workplaces like factories are expected to have higher levels of light to help employees see potential dangers.
It is expected for all employees to have enough lighting to do their job safely and efficiently.
As each office is different, you need to determine how much lighting you will need. A small office with several windows will need less lighting compared to a large office with one window.
As well as considering the size of the office, you will need to consider the tasks of your employees: what type of lighting do they need to do their job?
In a large open plan office, where employees work on computers, they may not need as much lighting as you think. Too much overhead artificial lighting and light from computer screens can cause eye strain. It is recommended by HSE that large open offices provide smaller lighting options, like desk lamps, so employees have more control over what light they need. One employee may require more lighting compared to another employee who can work comfortably on natural light alone.
To help you choose the best lighting for your workspace, you may be required to trial different lights to see which works best. Some bulbs cause more glare than others. Naturally, you may want to invest in eco-friendly bulbs and you may have to test a few types to determine which provides the best lighting.
When it comes to setting up your office lights, it’s easier and better for your budget if you can get them right during your initial setup. This way you can avoid disrupting your employees while they work.
If you’re unable to change the lighting during your office setup, don’t worry. Some electricians will be available in evenings and weekends. Just make sure you hire an electrician who is experienced in doing office lighting to ensure they work professionally and complete the job to a high standard.
Helpful Tip – Encourage Lots Of Natural Light
There is concern about the harm artificial light can cause on eyes and skin. Too much overhead artificial lighting has been considered to trigger headaches and migraines at work. To help protect staff from artificial lighting, use more natural light instead. Open windows to invite plenty of light and turn off the main lights, provide desk lamps for when people need additional light to work safely on a task.
Of course, it is easier to rely more on natural light in the summer months, compared to the winter season, but using more natural forms of light will also reduce your office energy bills. By painting your office a lighter colour, you will not have to rely on more lighting to keep the office sufficiently lit.