Can lighting make us all work smarter?

What’s the lighting like where you work? If you work in the lighting industry, you'll no doubt have a prepared answer to this question – and perhaps a brochure and a business card to go with it. Normal people, on the other hand, won’t have much to say on the topic. Why would they? The lights are just sort of... there.

My office has some inoffensive T8 luminaires which throw a bit of light on to the ceiling and distribute the rest around the room without glare. A sprinkling of dead flies adds character. Standard stuff, and it’s a serviced office, so it’s not as if we can change it. To be honest, I don’t think about the lights in our office much – and I think about lights for a living.

Does this mean the lighting doesn’t matter? Far from it.

There’s mounting evidence to show that the light that we work under has a big effect on our wellbeing and productivity. This is because our stone age brains are designed to tell the time by the sun, and still interpret the colour and intensity of light as signals about what time of day it is. So working under artificial lighting – a fact of life for most of us – really messes with our heads.

This fact, combined with abuse of caffeine and Haribo, helps to explain why I enter a kind of zombie state in the mid-afternoon – slumping in my chair, staring vacantly at my computer, wondering what I’m meant to be doing.

If you too come over a bit Neolithic after a big lunch, don’t worry – there is hope. Today’s intelligent LED lighting systems can be controlled and tuned to create dynamic installations that change throughout the day.

Energy efficiency may have been the key factor driving the uptake of LED, but now we’re starting to see the benefits for our health and wellbeing too.

To help you navigate this new world, Lux has identified the 10 key trends in workplace lighting right now. We've also taken a close look at how dynamic lighting is creating better schools, hospitals and workplaces, and reviewed the latest generation of LED ceiling panels. We've even taken a look at how light can be used to transmit data.

 

Read Lux's special edition on lighting for offices, healthcare and education here.

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