Your office lighting may be killing productivity

by Michael G. Helander

lightingDid you know that lighting not only affects visual conditions, but also has an effect on biological functions and emotions?

Light directly influences the amount of melatonin a person produces, contributing to motivation and happiness.

If your office still relies primarily on overhead fluorescent lighting, it may be affecting the productivity of your employees.

Have you ever asked your employees how the lighting in your office affects them or about their lighting preferences? It’s a conversation worth having since poor lighting can lead to eye fatigue and the myriad of symptoms that accompany it.

59 Tech Tips D

Making a few adjustments to your office lighting can make a huge difference in employees’ productivity and comfort during the workday. The following are a few tips for creating a more productive workspace for your employees.

√  Incorporate natural light whenever possible. Natural light enhances psychological well-being and is a great way to keep your employees happy and productive. You may still need to offset natural lighting with artificial light to account for inconsistencies throughout the day.

√  Combine macro-lighting and micro-lighting. Every person has different needs and personal preferences when it comes to lighting. An effective way to address individual needs is to combine dimmer overhead lighting (macro-lighting) with task lighting (micro-lighting). This allows employees to have more control of the light within their personal workspace.

√  Experiment with OLED task lighting. Traditional task lamps project one bright spot of light, leaving surrounding areas dark and contributing to eye fatigue. OLED lighting uses a soft, diffused light that spreads over a large area without harsh boundaries, and doesn’t give off a harsh glare or generate too much heat, making it ideal for a personal work space.

Even if you aren’t able to make all the changes listed above, simply initiating a conversation with your employees is good place to start. You may find that there are easy solutions to the problems they are experiencing and that when office lighting improves, so does their productivity.

Michael G. Helander is the co-founder of Aerelight Design. The company’s first commercial product, aerelight (, is an OLED task lamp. Helander holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Engineering Science and a Ph.D. in Materials Engineering from the University of Toronto.