There’s a growing trend in society today. Many people are fed up with trading in their health for the ability to put food on the table.
Being stuck inside an office deprived of sunlight, exposed to dirty recycled air, and staring at a screen all day is not how we humans were designed to operate. Is it any wonder then that our health is taking a beating from it?
We don’t want to stop working — no, we want to contribute to society and earn our bread. But it can’t be at the cost of our body, mind, and spirit. Luckily, some employers have taken notice of the trend and taken steps towards a healthier workplace. And the workplace is better in terms of productivity and happiness from it.
One of the factors that affect your health in the workplace is lighting, and you’ll find out why in a minute.
LED lighting has been shown to increase productivity in the workplace. This is due to a few factors, such as varying color temperature, little to no UV radiation, little to no flickering, and cooler temperature. LED has also been shown to reduce eye strain, headaches, and drowsiness.
Read below on how you can make your workplace healthy for you.
Does LED Have An Impact On The Human Body?
Short answer, yes. It definitely is healthier for you. But why?
To answer that question, we must first know how our body interacts with light.
Your body has an ‘optimum setting’ since the moment you were born. If you live within this setting, chances are you’ll probably be healthy. Ignore them, and your body will start going haywire.
Well, one of the settings is waking up early in the day when the sun rises and going to sleep when it’s dark. This is regulated by sunlight and is called our circadian rhythm. The warm sun caresses our skin, making us more alert and energetic, while the darkness lulls us to sleep.
It was easy to follow this setting back in the old days. But then artificial light came into the picture. We began staying up later and later. And then we began to stay indoors all day where sunlight is replaced by light bulbs. The result?
Offices without windows were found to cause less productivity and alertness while also impacting sleep negatively. So if possible, you should have daylight exposure in your office.
Blue light from bright cold white light sources also represents a risk of retinal damage.
Flickering from fluorescent lighting has also been shown to cause headaches, eye strain. It affects your ability to read text.
So what makes LED lighting a better choice, you ask? Well, there are a few reasons…
LED Light: Pros and Cons
Unlike fluorescent and incandescents, there is a lot more control in the light produced by the LED.
It has been shown that certain color temperatures have been shown to improve productivity. Reading speed and reading comprehension were drastically improved from fine-tuning the shade of light color in an environment.
This is something LED lights do exceptionally well. They can provide varying levels of light to suit the time of day with the help of a few electronics.
Imagine being able to vary your office’s brightness and color temperature throughout the day. Going for alertness early in the morning, then reducing the intensity the closer it is to night time to avoid sleep disruption. This ‘smart’ approach to office lighting will be the future, in my opinion.
This test done in temporary military shelters also found LED “increased alertness and visual cognitive efficiency among workers when compared to more traditional alternatives”(meaning fluorescent).
This benefit may not apply to you, but factories in hot places like India found increased productivity from the reduction in heat emitted from LEDs. Fluorescents can run relatively hotter, so you can imagine how demotivating it is to work under that kind of heat.
As you can see, there’s sufficient evidence that the varying light, cooler temperature, and other factors like not flickering put LED lighting in a superior position to fluorescents.
Does LED Light Increase Productivity?
If you want to increase productivity, the best thing to do is to increase the amount of daylight shining into your office.
It’s what most office workers crave to have more sunshine in their daily lives. It’s just what we humans need, and it’s been shown to reduce drowsiness, eye strain, and headache.
But that’s something you have little control over. Changing to LED lights, though, is something you do have control over.
Using LED can increase alertness, visual cognitive efficiency, reading comprehension, oral fluency(presenting or sharing ideas), and reduce unwanted health effects.
Now, it’s not a magic pill that’ll turn you and your colleagues into successful workhorses. That’s not what this is about. It’s about turning your office into a healthy environment where everyone is happy to clock in and do meaningful work.
LED vs Fluorescent Light In The Office Environment
It does not look good for fluorescent lighting.
A study has shown that fluorescent lighting may increase eye disease. The reason for this is because fluorescents emit more potentially damaging ultraviolet (UV) radiation than the safe range recommended.
In fact, the researchers go on to say fluorescents may cause an additional 3000 cases of cataracts and 7500 instances of pterygium (pinkish tissue growth on the eye) annually in Australia!
Another side effect of fluorescent lighting is flickering. This is when the lights turn on and off at a blisteringly fast rate unnoticed by the eye. And while it is not noticeable, there is an effect on the body.
This study showed fluorescent flickering causes a decrease in the accuracy of performance. The scientists say this may be because the body’s central nervous system is overly aroused, which makes sense. If you’re unconsciously being submitted to flashing lights, there’s sure to be some issues.
The flickering seems to confirm its effects on eye strain. It also found lethargy to be another side effect of flickering. If you’ve ever needed some fresh air to clear out that sludgy, tired feeling at work, then it might be caused by flickering.
I hope this inspires you to turn your office into a healthier environment. The best way to do that is by getting more daylight in. Nothing beats the sun. It’s been waking us up and making us alert since the dawn of time.
The next best thing is to install LED lighting in your office. The improvements are just proven. You’ll have less eye strain, migraine, or drowsiness, which impairs your ability to do any productive work.
In addition to that, you’re also going to be more alert, have better reading comprehension, and oral fluency. It’s the versatility and quality of LED lighting that makes it so good.
LED use in the workplace is still a growing trend, so I’m curious if your office is still using fluorescent lighting.
Do share in the comments below because I want to hear personal experience on this issue.