Many offices have fluorescent strip lighting across the ceilings of their offices (particularly older offices, shops and factories). Whilst strip lighting is common, affordable and practical, it’s not the most attractive example of lighting, it’s not cost-effective to run, nor is it the most motivational lighting solution for your employees.
From a health perspective, strip lighting of this kind can induce headaches and migraines in people who suffer from them. The tone of the light they give off can also stop people from sleeping when they’re in bed at night and the UV aspect of most fluorescent lighting has been determined to be past the safe limit for damage to our eyes.
Artificial lighting, on the whole, has the power to affect our moods and productivity, which is why experts recommend we get exposure to as much natural light as we’re able to during our working days—particularly in winter, when the mornings and evenings can be dark as we arrive at, and leave, work.
Just as in the home, different lighting can create different atmospheres; imagine being on the sofa on a date, you wouldn’t choose bright lighting from the ‘big light’ overhead, you’d instead create ambience with lamps and/or candles. Though we’re not suggesting business owners should similarly ‘woo’ their employees, it’s a good idea to have a range of lighting within your business premises as each example is suited to a completely different task.
These provide a general pool of light around your working area. It may be an idea to choose a bulb that creates a more yellow/amber glow than a bright white aura, given how closely the lamp will be to your eyes. A warmer light may also tone down the blue/white intense glare of your computer screen.
Most desk lamps can be positioned to cast their glow in appropriate areas, though they’re not meant to be used without any overhead lighting; using a desk lamp alone could cause you to strain your eyes.
This isn’t a technical term, it’s just the one we’re using to describe job-related task lighting. Think of the bulbs around a mirror for make-up artists; diffusers that photographers use to ensure even coverage of light in a photograph; lights on head lamps for people heading into dark areas, such as people working in sewers or caves.
Each light in these cases performs a specific purpose and the glow they give out is appropriate to the job in hand.
A row of spotlights, or a handful at specific but random sites over workstations, can be better than one or two strip lights across the whole ceiling. Spotlights do exactly what they suggest—they shine a light on a certain spot to enhance vision in that area. Think of laboratories, commercial kitchens, workshops, etc. They tend to shine their lights downwards and allow employees to clearly see what they’re working on.
Lighting to impress
Lighting can create a great first impression when the general public come to your work premises. For instance, you could add a small strip-light over or under your shop/office sign, to draw the eyes of visitors and highlight your branding. Some offices add fashionable lamps and mood lighting in their reception areas, to create a certain atmosphere when prospective clients walk in.
Perhaps the most important lighting for your business, however, is security lighting. A well-lit space is less likely to attract criminal activity when there’s nobody on the premises, as would spotlights that are driven by motion sensors.
It’s also a good idea to put bright lighting over the entry/exit door to the business. If you’re the last person to leave, the last thing you’d want is to lock up the building in absolute darkness.
These are just a few examples that show different types of lighting and their purpose. What others can you think of? Tweet us at @intheknowemag
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