See, Space and Sun – Why Office Light Sucks

Ever asked yourself why you get so tired every day at work? You already stopped the carbs, took your vitamins, and went for a run before going to work, but nothing seems to work. Have you ever considered lighting? Photons around us have the power to make us feel good or contribute to serious fatigue. Let’s review the most important (yet underrated) lighting factors to promote the best work environment at any company:

Window seat

Having your desk by a window is a must. Good natural light sufficient to work comfortably generally travels up to 20 feet (6 meters) into the building. Beyond this distance, you will need to supplement with artificial light all day long. Since natural light is the best type, the farther you sit from the windows, the more fatigue you are prone to develop.

Lighting Temperature

How to recognize cool light versus warm light? Cool light tends to be more blueish and warm light is yellowish. Warm light is softer and usually less intense, and makes you less tired. Office space traditionally uses cold fluorescent light. We recommend using either full length or warm light to provide a cozy yet bright work environment. 

Dark office versus dark mode

We spend a great amount of time in front of screens. When evening comes, make sure there is enough light around and behind your screen. When too dark, the work environment can make your eyes tired. If you can’t control the light, a good trick is to switch your screen to dark mode to give your eyes a break.

Too much reflection on screen

Have you ever tried to work outdoors with a laptop in bright summer? You probably got surprised by how dark your screen seems to be. Even indoors, too much sunlight can provoke uncomfortable reflections all over your screen and workspace. If you are constantly moving your head around to see what’s on it, consider switching desks or ask the office management to install better shades. 

Overhead lighting not aligned to desks

Overhead lighting can be a nightmare if devices and workspaces are misaligned. Look up at the ceiling and you will instantly understand the problem. Overhead lighting can generate bright and dark areas across the office, creating a pattern of light inequality at the company. Employees with a brighter desk tend to get less tired and stressed than people sitting in the darker zones. You can always get desk lamps for the office, or talk to the building owner or manager for a more appropriate long-term solution.

There might be one more thing worth sharing regarding light. Take a vacation. Yes, go away from the office, as far as possible from the gloomy fluorescent lights. A few minutes of sunlight on your arms can generate enough serotonin to make you feel calm and sharp every day. Serotonin is the “hormone of happiness”, so now you know why so many people go to sunny destinations in the winter. Keep the energy high!