All office lighting needs are the same? False. Every office is different. Luckily, there are some common lighting mistakes that many people are making in their office that you can learn from and avoid. Giving your office lighting plan some thought will save you money with efficient energy usage and can lead to more productive employees.
Not Thinking Enough About Lighting
It isn't uncommon for office managers to expect the employees to manage their own lighting situation. Encouraging employees to practice good lighting practices and turning off lights when they are done using them seems like it goes without saying, but you might be surprised how much energy your office is wasting on inefficient light usage.
Relying on Only One Source of Light
In order to maximize efficiency, your workers need to be able to see what they are working on. Have optional lighting sources at various levels other than just the ones in the ceiling. Having lamps and lighting inside cubicles or work spaces allow for employees to get the extra light when they need it.
Using Wattage Improperly
Wattage too low for overhead lighting can create a gloomy atmosphere which isn't conducive to a creative workspace. However, using too high of a wattage can bring harsh bright light down that is not only unflattering on the eyes but distracting too. Remember, using the proper wattage is just as important as using the right type of lighting for the circumstance.
Poorly Placed Light Switches
Placing light switches and wall plates no more than three feet from the flooring, allows for the switch to be accessible without getting in the way of office decor. Additionally, keeping the light switch two to three inches away from the door frame on the opposite side from which the door is hinged will make turning on and off the lights intuitive and functionally efficient.
Not Taking Advantage of Dimmers
Offices are like living organisms in that they operate on a daily cycle just like humans do. Conference rooms or offices with natural light may not need any artificial light source at midday, but for all the other hours, you can use a combination of a dimmer and natural light to set the perfect mood for being productive. Not to mention, dimmers can help save on your electrical bill as you are only using the wattage you need.
Not Leveraging Natural Light
You know what the best part of natural light is? It's free. Not leveraging natural light is wasting energy, and wasting energy means you're wasting money, and no one likes that. If you have windows, use them as light sources and encourage employees to rely on free light when possible.
Too Much Unprotected Natural Light
Natural light can be a fickle beast. Some days are sunnier than others and being unable to control glare can be one of the most frustrating aspects of free light. Invest in blinds, curtains, and glare resistant screens and filters. Having the ability to shade the light or control how much is streaming into your building can allow you to enjoy free energy without overshadowing the productive stream of your employees.
Lighting an office properly in order to maximize productivity and avoid wasteful energy consumption requires thought and effort. However, if you make sure to avoid the seven mistakes outlined above, you will be well on your way to taking full advantage of the benefits of light on office and employee efficiency.
What office lighting needs and problems do you have? What lighting mistakes have you learned from in the past? Let us know in the comments!