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How Good Office Lighting Can Improve Your Efficiency

Good quality office lighting at work can have a significant impact on productivity and overall morale of the workforce. It is proven that correct lighting increases the rate of output and quality of work.

According to European Lamp Companies Federation, ‘There are wide varieties of office workplaces: from an executive office of a CEO to a sales office in a workshop of a handicraft shop, from an open plan office in an insurance company to a stock control office adjacent to production lines in a factory. Most of these workers are mainly operating with a computer display screen. Here, lighting has an important role- to stimulate, motivate and give a feeling of well-being and the production of high quality work. Loss of alertness and absenteeism can be very costly. Research shows that dynamic lighting over the working day is much appreciated. It supports, stimulates and motivates workers throughout the working day.’

All employers are required by law to provide proper lighting as per the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The Health and Safety Executive highlights the importance of lighting in their ‘Workforce health, safety and welfare guide’ and explains that, ‘Lighting should be sufficient to enable people to work and move about safely. If necessary local lighting should be provided at individual workstations. Automatic emergency lighting powered by an independent source should be provided where sudden loss of light would create a risk.’

Insufficient or poor lighting leads to various problems such as eyestrain, headaches, neck and back ailments, nausea and other aches and pains causing a decrease in the level of output. Workers need different amounts of light depending on the nature and role of the work. The right amount of light helps the worker perform the task at hand more efficiently and accurately.

Recommended lighting levels by ANSI and IESNA

Task/Area Recommended range of illuminance
Simple Visual Task

  • Lobby Area
  • Washrooms
  • Loading into trucks
30- 100
Medium Visual Tasks

  • Bookkeeping
  • Filing
  • Receiving and packing
300- 1000
More Visually Demanding Tasks

  • Colour inspection
  • Difficult assembly
  • Proofreading
  • Fine bench/Machine work
  • Sewing
  • Watch and Jewellery making



A study about the link between worker performance and lighting conducted by the Light Right Consortium in collaboration with the U.S Department of Energy reveals that:

  • People who are more satisfied with their lighting rate the space as more attractive, are happier, and are more comfortable and satisfied with their environment and their work.
  • Lighting and task conditions that improve visibility lead to better task performance.
  • People with personal dimming control showed more sustained motivation and improved performance on a measure of attention. They also reported higher ratings of lighting quality, overall environmental satisfaction and self-rated productivity.
  • About 70% of occupants considered lensed and parabolic to be “comfortable” overall versus 81-85 % for direct/indirect with wall washers and 91% for the personal dimming control condition. A higher percentage of the population prefers light on the ceiling and walls.

Journal of Occupational Health Psychology points out that, ‘Job satisfaction accounted for 63 percent of variance in organization commitment, which accounted for 80-percent variance in intent to turnover. In the study, job satisfaction incorporated satisfaction with the physical environment. ‘

The working environment, performance and wellbeing of the workforce is affected by the type of lighting provided at work. The Lighting Research Centre points out that, ‘People experiencing positive emotional states tend to be more productive and that positive emotional states can be reinforced by providing people with their preferred work environment.’

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