One of the most significant factors that affect workplace productivity is the lighting, but is overlooked by a majority of employers across the globe.

Office lighting has a significant impact on your company’s productivity, and it goes way beyond the “reading in the dark hurts your eyes” kind of common knowledge. Lousy lighting hurts employee’s motivation and focus; it affects their performance and their overall health. So it’s not only the eyes – it’s everything.

A study on light, well-being, and performance at work conducted by the City University of London found consistent effects that are directly related to the impact of lighting on employee performance and health. Poor lighting results in eye strain, fatigue and aching, and this automatically leads to downgrades in performance and productivity.

When the light is dim, the eyes are forced to work much harder than usual to see. Dim lighting also causes lack of focus, which has adverse effects on employee motivation.

Harsh light, however, can be just as bad, especially fluorescent light, which is well known to cause eye strain, triggers migraine headaches, and make it difficult for the eye to focus.

But, did you know that lousy lighting may be making people dumb, too?

The Michigan State University conducted a study recently and found that spending time in areas that are poorly lit can, in fact, change the structure of a brain, hurting the way one learns and remembers new information.

In other words, dim lights produce dimwits,” says the author of the study, Joel Soler.

Modern office workers are often exposed to poor lighting, spending 90 percent of their time indoors, so Soler’s team exposed a group of Nile Grass rats to dim light for four weeks. At the end of the experiment, the rats had lost 30% of the capacity of their brains’ region responsible for learning and remembering. In short, the rats got dumber.

In comparison, another group of rats was exposed to bright lights for four weeks. Surprisingly, these rats improved their performance and ability to perform complex tasks.

Good news is that the effects of bad lighting can be reversed. The first group of rats was later exposed to bright lights and made a complete recovery.

How to Improve the Lighting in Your Office

Natural light is a far superior alternative to any artificial light, however, not every office has the luxury of having enough natural light for every employee and so we often need substitutes.

Large windows aren’t the only way to get a brighter, more pleasant office. You can have surprising effects by choosing the right colours for the walls and hardware. When selecting the right shade for your office, it’s important to know the way each colour works with the light and office size.

The wallpapers you choose can make the office appear bigger and brighter. Colour can set the mood in an office. Look for wallpapers that reflect light around the space, like patterns with light colours and smooth surfaces, which reflect maximum light.

Light is the critical component of vision, and vision is responsible for our perception of the world around us, so it’s not difficult to understand why lousy office lighting can have a negative impact on productivity. Opt for natural light and the right office interior design. It will make your office look prettier and will increase productivity and employee well-being.

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