The importance of good lighting at work

By  |  0 Comments


For all the care we take over lighting our houses, most of us spend the majority of our day at work, where light can make an even bigger difference than it does at home.

Good workplace lighting can prevent all sorts of problems for employees, so what can we do to give our workplaces a brilliant lighting boost? Here’s the lowdown on lighting a workplace, and what you can do to make your workspace that little bit brighter.

The problem of bad lighting


Poor lighting in a working environment can have all sorts of negative effects on workers, and it isn’t just about the obvious things like screen glare and eye strain. Employees’ productivity and morale can be weakened by bad lighting, and the quality of work can take a hit too, because straining to see in low light can lead to headaches, drowsiness, and even postural and musculoskeletal disorders.

And it isn’t just about office work; being unable to see properly in communal areas, or in more dangerous environments such as warehouses and factory floors, will inevitably lead to trips, falls and accidents. There can be no doubt that lighting at work is very important.

The recommendations


There are currently no statutory regulations for workplace lighting in the UK beyond the requirement that it should be “suitable and sufficient,” but there are some official recommendations for the amount of lighting that is suitable for many different types of workplace.

For example, in hazardous places where people and vehicles move about, an average illuminance of 50 lux is recommended, and in certain workplaces this can go as high as 500 lux – such as in offices where architectural plans are drawn – when concentration on small details is paramount. The definition of ‘good’ workplace lighting is highly dependent on the type of work that will be done there.

Mastering good lighting


Given how important workplace lighting can be, you’re bound to want to make the most of your own. The first step to lighting your workplace well is to maximise what you already have. Regularly clean and maintain existing lights to make sure they’re working at their best, ensure that nothing is blocking them, and also let in as much natural light as possible by freeing up space around windows.

If you are able to make more comprehensive changes in your workplace, the key is to give each employee individual control over the light around their desk. Fit window blinds to allow people to let in light or block out glare as the sun moves around, and consider giving each person their own desk lamp, so they can decide how much or how little light they want to work with.

Common pitfalls


Aside from failing to give your workplace enough overhead lighting, there are other lighting faux pas it’s best to avoid. Many office lights are too bright or wash out colours, which can make it difficult for people to concentrate for a long time and could have a negative impact on detailed, close-up work.

Old and damaged lights can be a danger too. We’ve all seen the headache-inducing flicker or ‘strobing’ of a failing fluorescent light, so make sure the light bulbs in your workplace are replaced on a strict schedule (whether they have burned out or not) and that the light fitting itself is regularly checked and maintained.

Beyond the office


Of course, in a workplace it isn’t just about the hub of the action – the office or the factory floor – there are plenty of other spaces to consider too. For example, stairwells and lobbies should be well lit, and for a large building it is a good idea to fit independently-powered emergency lighting to show people the way out if trouble strikes.

When it comes to bathrooms and kitchens, remember that light switches should be positioned in safe and accessible places. Finally, always keep all windows and skylights clean, inside and out, to make the most of that lovely natural light.

For more great lighting products for a home office or workplace, visit Lighting Majestic here.

David Cullis Is the owner of Lighting Majestic

You must be logged in to post a comment Login