We usually associate the word ergonomics with appliances like desks, chairs, keyboards, and other physical things that affect our posture, with brands that slap the words on alongside ‘lumbar support’ and ‘minimising muscle strain’. But an office space is more than that. A good office that’s taking an efficient and comforting work environment in mind also has to take into account the crucial factor of lighting.
We take in 85% of our information through our sight, and often-times in an office, we’re straining our eyes against our computers and notes for the majority of the time we’re there. More and more employees are suffering from Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), whose symptoms include:
- dry eyes,
- blurred vision,
- light sensitivity,
- pain in shoulders, neck and back,
- eyestrain, as well as pink or red eyes,
which good, conscious lighting choices can help prevent.
Other problems that can arise from poor lighting can be caused from choosing lighting in your office that is too dim, or too bright. When your lighting is too dim, your may cause squinting alongside eyestrain, while lights that are too bright wash out the images on computer screens, making it hard for your employees to see. Making poor lighting choices can make your employees to feel tired and stressed doing their general work, leading to a general lack of productivity and energy, as well as high chance of errors and accidents. Considering ergonomic lighting will help.
Design around flexibility and options for your workers with their lighting choices. Not only can make them more satisfied, but you can also cater to their individual needs, such as switching between the lighting needs between paper and computer, as well as catering to the needs of aged workers. Sight decreases with age, and an aged worker may require several times more light to read the same papers than a younger worker.
Check out these small ways you can make your office a better place to work, ergonomic lighting wise, so that everyone in your office can have a more productive, happier workplace.
Dual source ergonomic lighting
Dual source lighting is the implementation of using both overhead lighting, as well as task lighting. By having a global source of light while giving your workers the autonomy of something like desk lamps, you can help individualise your worker’s needs according to their station.
For example, many workers need to switch between using their computer monitor and paper documents. However, paper requires much higher lighting than a monitor. By a task light, your employee can switch their lighting accordingly, with their desk-lamps trained on their documents while relying on global lighting for their monitors, reducing eyestrain by having the optimal amount and source of light at all times.
Dual source lighting can also help lessen your environmental impact while saving on your financials. By reducing the need for excessive overhead lighting even when it’s unnecessary, having conscious workers may help save you electricity bills as well as have ergonomic lighting benefits.
Choosing a yellow toned light instead of white is better ergonomic lighting
Yellow toned lights are easier on the eyes, as they feel more natural than bright white lights like fluorescents. Not only do they mess with the circadian rhythms less, yellow-toned lights are also more psychologically pleasing.
Careful lighting placements leads to better ergonomic lighting
Modern day offices are defined by computer work – they are essential for nearly every office worker. That’s why taking computer glare into account is so important. Computer screens don’t only provide a light-source all on their own, but their screens can also reflect and bounce off their screens, making it hard for workers to see what they’re doing. Although glare-shields and glare-filters are readily available on the market, anything that is placed between the screen and the user generally decreases the quality of the image on the monitor.
Try using indirect lighting sources, where lighting design glares the light produced straight from the bulb onto other surfaces to use them as reflectors, letting the light to distribute evenly throughout the room. This type of lighting technique is categorised under ambient lighting, and is generally a gentler way of lighting your rooms. If you can’t afford to switch your office design to indirect lighting, or there may be immovable bright lights in your office, then perhaps think of the placement of your office-tables. Avoid placing your worker’s screens where a bright light can directly bounce off them.
The same problem – but with windows
Keep your monitors away from facing windows for the exact same reason as stated in the previous tip – window-lighting also creates high-risk of glare. Again, when there’s glare on a screen, it’s hard for a worker to see what they’re doing. If the screen placement is unavoidable, then perhaps install blinds so that your employees can roll them down when they find the sun is just a little too bright. Or, you may think of investing in window tints so that brightness won’t even be a problem in the first place.
There are other small ways that can help your employees, such as advising them to install apps like f.lux that automatically adjust the brightness of their screens throughout the day, or educating them on basic eye health exercises (basic things like telling them to look at something far away every half-hour or so to re-adjust their eyes). By doing so, you can protect them from wrecking too much havoc with their circadian rhythms that interrupt their sleep, and keep their health and wellbeing on the forefront your concerns.
Try considering ergonomic lighting in your workplace to encourage health, wellness and productivity.