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Boost your productivity with the right lighting

November 23, 2018 10:09 am | Door Ahrend

Do you feel less fit and effective when it is darker during winter? Every year, hundreds of thousands of people suffer from a ‘winter blues’. A shortage of (natural) light is the culprit and can have major consequences for your health on a structural basis. Fortunately, with the right adjustments you can give your energy and effectivity level at your workplace a boost !

We all need light. Simply to be able to see what we do, but also because daylight has a positive influence on our health. If you are not sufficiently exposed to (natural) light, you increase the risk of health complaints such as stress, concentration problems and even forms of depression. The American scientist Brainard discovered in 2001 that this is because light stimulates the circadian rhythm, better known as our biological clock.

Natural rhythm

The circadian rhythm is our internal clock that runs 24-hour shifts and affects behavior and hormone regulation. This rhythm is controlled by the brain. Photosensitive cells in our eyes register light, that determine whether it is time to be awake and alert or to be asleep. Also our eating pattern, body temperature, mood and performance depend on this. When it gets darker, your eyes send a signal that it’s time to be tired. Your brain, in turn, sends a signal to your body to release melatonin, making you feel tired. This is also the reason it’s better not to look at your smartphone before going to sleep; cold light with shades of blue have an activating effect and strengthen cognitive performance and concentration, while warm light with shades of red have a relaxing effect.

Je Circadiaan Ritme is gebaseerd op de hoeveelheid zonlicht die je binnenkrijgt.

Prevent problems

Poor lighting can unbalance your rhythm and cause sleep problems, which in turn increase the risk of diabetes, obesity, depression and heart attack. A regular exposure to (natural) light is therefore key – especially in your workplace! An environment that is adapted to the principles of a biophilic design takes matters such as the general design, air quality and also light in consideration. The approach is focused on improving our connection with nature and natural processes in the buildings in which we live and work, according to Oliver Heath from Oliver Heath Design. This connection significantly improves our well-being. But how does the architectural agency ensure that light comes in as optimally as possible and thus increases your effectivity and alertness?

The search for light

A simple low-budget solution is to ensure that your workplace is as close to the window as possible, preferably within one meter. Research shows that there is a strong correlation between the distance to the window and productivity of employees – which is extra strong when you can see a natural environment, such as a forest or a courtyard.

Werkplekken dicht bij het raam met veel licht

With a slightly larger budget you can add elements that create light. Think of objects and materials that reflect light, such as white, reflective surfaces and mirrors. Do not forget to create shades with plants or shutters. Because of the movement that arises, you create patterns that exist is nature. Are you open to larger, permanent changes? Create openness by replacing closed doors and walls with glass.

What lighting works best for you?

Are there not too many options at your office to allow more natural light to enter? Think of replacing normal lighting with biodynamic lighting. This artificial light simulates the dynamics of daylight. With the Comfort Workstation you do not only have control over the height and temperature of your desk, but can also easily adjust the color and intensity of the biodynamic light. Do you want to stimulate effectivity, for example when you are doing administrative tasks? Use extra bright lighting. Are you in a brainstorming session? With weaker light, your creativity is stimulated extra.

Research shows that by bringing natural daylight ‘inside’ your environment your biological, physiological and psychological well-being and health are influenced positively. Next to this, you are not only sparing your colleagues, but adding biodynamic lighting is also very cost-effective; the housing costs for lighting decrease by approximately 45%. A win-win situation!

Biodynamische verlichting z orgt ervoor dat je productiviteit of creativiteit gestimuleerd wordt.

Is it time for more daylight at your workplace? Contact one of our interior architects and discuss your situation!

Oliver Heath Design (2018), Creating + Positive spaces using biohilic design, Interface. 

Oliver Heath Design (2018), Creating + Positive spaces using the WELL Building Standard, Interface. 

Interface (n.d.), 14 Patterns of Biophilic Design. 

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