Does Your Kent or London Office Have the Right Office Lighting?

During the summer months when it’s light and the sun’s shining, we rarely think about the gloomy winter months to come, when the lack of sunlight can make any environment seem dull and downcast. As we move into autumn and then into winter and the days become darker and gloomier we start to realise just how important it is to have good office lighting. There is nothing worse than going to work to find the office space is dark and depressing with little to no natural light.

As we know light plays a vital role. The HSE say “Lighting an environment is often a complex task principally considered during the design stage of the building (by architects and interior designers). However, lighting should be designed for the tasks that individuals are carrying out within that environment.”

Research has shown that light can have a real impact on our health and well-being in a number of ways. As an example a paper called “The importance of light to health and well-being” talks about how “Research has shown that the variation of light is by far the most important factor in setting and maintaining our natural daily rhythm, the so-called circadian rhythm. Preliminary evidence suggests that low light-exposure is associated with diminished health and well-being and it can lead to reduced sleep quality, depressed mood, lack of energy and reduced social relations.” The paper also talks about Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also known as winter depression or winter blues and explains it is “a form of depression that occurs more frequently in the winter months, typically arising in the autumn and disappearing in the spring. Typical SAD symptoms are emotional depression, lack of energy, increased need for sleep, increased irritability, increased appetite and weight gain, reduced immune system activity and often also periodic reduced performance and productivity.”

With the understanding that light can affect us both physically and mentally it’s clear that ensuring good lighting in the work place should be a major concern for every Kent and London company when planning an office refurbishment.

What Do Workers Think Of Their Office Lighting?

In a study conducted by Ipsos, commissioned by office furniture manufacturer Steelcase, and across 12,000 workers across 17 companies, a quarter of British office workers surveyed said they hate their office lighting!

The study stated: “This could be seriously affecting the concentration, productivity and engagement levels of workers, with the study showing that a lack of flexibility and control over the physical work environment correlates with a lack of engagement.” In contrast, “highly engaged employees are those that have the most flexibility over how and where they work.”

Another study (PDF) by Zumtobel Lighting and the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering found that 80% of workers had little or no control over the lighting in their office space, which is an equally important factor in affecting how satisfied people were with their working environment.

Data based on a study from Sedus together with the research institute Hagstotz ITM shows how office workers assessed their working environments. The image below shows which aspects were important to them and how satisfied they are with each one. Lighting was rated the most important of all the aspects surveyed with lots of room for improvement.

At Innogy’s Czech regional headquarters a deep internal renovation, with lighting prioritised on the agenda along with other facility systems such as heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) was carried out which has resulted in a number of benefits including increased productivity along with energy savings.

So how can Kent and London businesses make sure that they have lighting in their office space which will ensure a pleasant, well lit working environment encouraging productivity and health and well-being?

Ways To Improve Your Kent and London Office Lighting

  1. Give lighting priority. When it comes to an office refurbishment make sure lighting is one of the aspects of the design that is given a high priority. Given its importance lighting shouldn’t be an afterthought. Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering study showed that productivity can increase by up to 36% in companies with a high standard of interior design. A further study by The Light Right Consortium also came to the conclusion that light increases productivity.
  2. Use natural lighting where possible. Try to incorporate as much natural light as possible. Make use of windows to let as much light into the office as possible. Where there are no windows available to you use artificial lighting. Given that there is a large range of artificial lighting options there should be an option that’s just right for the task.
  3. Think about how to light a room. If you use flat panels or recessed light fittings it’s important to make sure that the beam isn’t too strongly focused downwards, resulting in what is called “the cave effect” where very little light reaches the ceiling itself. As a consequence the top of the room can be considerably darker than the walls and the floor. This can result in an unpleasant working environment which is gloomy and under-lit, resulting in eyestrain.
  4. Give people control where possible. We all like to be able to control our environment and everyone is different. In the case of lighting, one size doesn’t fit all. What is just right for one person may be too bright or not bright enough for someone else. Where staff can adjust their own lighting with desktop lights/lamps to suit their own needs and the task at hand productivity and accuracy has been shown to increase.
  5. Maintain your lights. Once you have the right office lighting in place don’t rest on your laurels. Maintenance is important to keep lights working correctly. There is nothing worse than flickering lights which can be a distraction and cause headaches/migraines.

How Can JBH Refurbishments Help?

JBH Refurbishments have 25+ years of experience in Kent and London office design and office refurbishment. From design and layout to suspended ceilings/office lighting, flooring and office furniture JBH Refurbishments will work with you to make the most of your Kent and London office. Contact us on 0333 207 0339 or via our contact form to move your project forward.


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