Let there be light.

Hello December: The darkest days of the year are upon us.  Unconsciously, we tend to become more tired and unproductive as the human body is exposed to less natural light. Very much linked to wellbeing, light has a major impact on our health as winter decreases our chances of getting enough daily natural light. Studies demonstrate how the lack of natural light could significantly influence our wellbeing and we need to be prepared to solve this issue in the workplace.

A study found that the absence of natural light and outdoor views damages the employee experience. Over a third of employees feel that they don’t get enough natural light in their workspace. Consequently, they feel tired from the absence of natural light in their office.[1]

Awareness of employee wellbeing is on the rise, with more than half of employees in the UK reporting overall wellbeing as “very important” to them. In the same survey work-life balance and overall wellbeing were determined to be the second most important factor when choosing to work for an organisation. When employees are satisfied with the level of wellbeing it leads to increased employee engagement and individual performance.[2]

The great health benefits gained from access to natural light results in some companies reimagining their workspace. Smart companies are using wellbeing within the office to help get the right people, with the understanding that wellbeing is a top priority for employees. Companies focus on natural light, plants and healthy activities as part of the overall office design in order to improve staff recruitment.[3]

Studies have shown that people work better in a space designed to promote productivity and minimise distractions, prevent fatigue and headaches with good lighting, inspiring colours and encouragement for employees to take walks through their working day.[4] In a Future Workplace Survey of over 1,600 employees, access to natural light and views of the outdoors came out as top necessities of a workplace environment.[5] Why are we so desperate to escape the halogens and LEDs for sunlight? The answer is in the morning our bodies release serotonin – a chemical that helps us wake up. It’s also a mood balancer. At night we release melatonin to make us feel tired. By not getting enough natural light the part of the brain that controls these hormones can be disrupted this can lead to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).[6] People with SAD will feel this, especially in winter when there are fewer hours of natural light. So, getting plenty of natural light at work helps us to stay alert during the day and sleep soundly at night. Without it, people can experience anxiety, mood swings, and depression, partly because they struggle to sleep at night.[7]

Often just 13-15 minutes of exposure to natural light is enough to trigger the release of endorphins. Poor lighting often gets overlooked in the workplace, as we talk about mental health and wellbeing and the focus is firmly on creating a happier and healthier working environment. We spend 90 % of our day inside in artificial lighting, exposure to bad lighting has a lot of negative effects on the body both physical and mental, such as eye strain, headaches, fatigue and stress and anxiety in more high-pressured work environments.[8]

As we are entering the darkest and shortest days of the year, 40 % of office workers are struggling to work in poor lighting every day. This results in poor productivity and wellbeing.

80 % of office workers say that having good lighting in the workspace is important to them, and two in five are dealing with uncomfortable lighting every day. A third said that better lighting would make them happier at work. However, when the access to natural sunlight is so limited as it is in the winter many are feeling stressed and will develop SAD.[9]

There are different solutions to the natural light within the office. Either choosing the office based on the amount of natural light from windows or implement lights which improves the natural light. If it is not possible to get natural light through windows, the brand Light Cognitive is a great solution to the ongoing problem regarding getting enough light.[10]

The founder of Light Cognitive wanted to find a solution that would benefit all who love nature and natural light. Light Cognitive wants to create lighting that would give you the feeling that we get from a beautiful morning, a sunny day and a stunning sunrise. The spectra of the sky are measured and an innovative lighting solution that could capture the feeling of being next to a window or under the clear sky was created.

The light panel’s biophilic horizon style effect gives the impression of a natural environment. Recently awarded by Deezen in the best Lighting Design category of the year (2020), products make a room feel more spacious and fill it with light. Light Cognitive is ideal for windowless spaces and rooms with insufficient lighting.[11]

LC lights help you feel more rested and productive as the human body is triggered by the amount of natural light. Being able to concentrate throughout the entire workday will benefit overall wellbeing in the office. Often small changes can affect employee wellbeing more than you would expect. By giving natural light, companies are improving wellbeing, concentration and productivity.[12]

[1] Forbes.com “How does lighting affect mental health in the workplace”

[2] Hbr.com “The #1 Office Perk? Natural Light”

[3] Hbr.com “The #1 Office Perk? Natural Light”

[4] Forbes.com “How does lighting affect mental health in the workplace”

[5] Hbr.com “The #1 Office Perk? Natural Light”

[6] Forbes.com “How does lighting affect mental health in the workplace”

[7] Hbr.com “The #1 Office Perk? Natural Light”

[8] Forbes.com “How does lighting affect mental health in the workplace”

[9] Forbes.com “How does lighting affect mental health in the workplace”

[10] Lightcognitive.com

[11] Lightcognitive.com “Our Story”

[12] Hbr.com “The #1 Office Perk? Natural Light”