With the longest day of the year a distant memory from the summer gone by, the number of hours of natural light coming into our workspaces and homes is rapidly reducing with the onset of winter around the corner.
As we move from autumn into winter, there’s every chance people will start turning to different types of lighting in workspaces up and down the land to make their desks and surroundings feel a little less gloomy. Studies have shown that good lighting can have significant benefits for worker productivity, with research revealing that natural light is the most desired workplace characteristic for many employees.
Here are a range of options for making the workspace a brighter, healthier and happier place to be.
Paint – or tile – it white
A simple lick of white paint on the ceiling can make a big difference. Design experts say that while not all ceilings, particularly very high ones, lend themselves to white, the advantage of painting a ceiling white is that it reflects light in the room, making it feel brighter and more spacious. This also means that walls can be repainted without the ceiling needing to be done each time.
Of the many office ceilings that are tiled, there are often plenty that haven’t been re-tiled for decades. Particularly in the case of those workplaces that still have tiles from the pre-smoking ban era, which are likely to be stained from tobacco; a refresh with sparkling new white tiles could make a huge difference.
Furnish it bright
Furniture is a big element of any office space, with cabinets, desking, chairs, storage and technology taking up significant space and helping to create the mood around the workplace. With younger work generations in particular turning to colour when it comes to personalising their office supplies and equipment, there are more white and colour office furniture options available now than ever before.
When it comes to chairs, there are hundreds of different colours of fabrics that can be delivered to workplaces in under a month, for often only marginal additional cost.
Multi coloured drawer tower units, white bookcases and cupboards, colourful office and breakout chairs, and white benchdesking are just a few ways that any office can quickly transform from dark and drab to bright and cheerful.
Personalise the light
Floor lamps and desk lamps can help lighten up individual workstations and bring more personality into a room. LED lighting has the advantage of low power consumption, cool running and a very long life. They give the greatest amount of light for the amount of energy consumed.
There are also light bulbs that can simulate daylight, which may help to create a more comfortable atmosphere. Many people do not realise that light comes in many different shade of whites, a bit like paint charts. These shades move from warm white with yellow tones, all the way through to cool white, which is often used to create a more clinical look, to daylight white.
If individual lighting is used it can be important to make sensible use of directional lighting and screens to avoid distracting people at nearby workstations.
Files, papers, books and boxes left lying around create clutter and reduce any sense of space or openness in a room. By clearing supplies away, it becomes easier for light to reflect off white or bright surfaces and make an environment feel more spacious.
Plants can make up for a lack of natural light in a room by bringing in an element of the outdoors. Foliage in a workspace has been found to improve productivity and reduce stress by 12%, with researchers also claiming that the net cooling effect of some larger plants can help to reduce operational and maintenance costs in summer.
There is the option of buying and looking after your company’s plants or you can outsource this to external suppliers.
Accessorise with colour
Gone are the days of grey, black or beige as the only options for furniture or desk top accessories. Workers everywhere are now opting for white, pink, green, red or blue when selecting their desk tidies, pen holders, magazine racks and letter trays. This injection of colour into a workstation makes an office look fresher and more appealing. It also allows individuals to express their personalities at work and can help to brighten any room.
Colour schemes can be linked to company branding, to signify different teams or to enable employees to choose colours that they personally prefer.