The LED effect: use lighting to boost people and productivity
It stimulates the brain, improves accuracy and can even expedite recovery from illness, but all too often we underestimate the remarkable power of light.
We think little of spending our days in a dull workspace, before heading back to our brilliantly-illuminated homes, where we expose ourselves to screens emitting energising blue light. Before we know it, we’ve jerked our bodies into wakefulness, just as we should be winding down to sleep.
Put simply, if we’re exposed to dim light by day and bright light by night, it muddles our body clock. Research reveals that this erodes the quality and quantity of our sleep, which can in turn impact our mood, stress levels and eventually, even our physical health.
On the other hand, spending our days in a well-lit environment, especially in an industrial setting, can boost performance, then help us enjoy deeper, more satisfying sleep.
The result? A happy circle of productivity, energy and optimum well-being.
Consider the evidence…
In case you’re in any doubt, consider a seminal study by the Lighting Research Centre. Participants in five US-based office buildings wore light-measuring devices in both summer and winter to gauge their light exposure, then logged their sleep times, wake times and mood. Compellingly, those who were exposed to bright light between 8am and 5pm reported less sleep disturbance and lower levels of depression.
Of course, great lighting helps health and performance on a more immediate level too.
Not only does it reduce eyestrain and associated headaches, it can improve accuracy.
It also eliminates glare and shadow, lessening the risk of falls.
This is particularly valuable in notoriously hazardous workplaces where health and safety are paramount, such as warehouses, where slips and trips account for around a quarter of major injuries.
In an ideal world we’d all be exposed to an abundance of natural light, but of course the vast majority of us spend our working day indoors. And that’s when LED lighting systems come into their own.
In a nutshell, well-designed LED systems have the potential to replicate sunlight far more closely than fluorescent bulbs.
Rapidly developing smart technologies also mean LED fixtures can be adjusted in both intensity and colour throughout the day, like the sun.
That means we’re bathed in light that works in harmony with our body clocks, boosting our energy and performance in the process.
This can be particularly helpful for the legions of shift workers who power our economy through the night.
The right dose of light can have a similar impact to a shot of coffee, reducing fatigue and sharpening focus.
LEDs don’t just make your building more people-friendly, they make it seriously eco-friendly too.
Not only do they consume up to 80% less electricity than traditional incandescent bulbs, but modern technology also enables you to closely control usage. Fixtures can be programmed and motion sensors ensure bulbs aren’t left blazing in empty rooms.
Combined with a control system, LEDs also offer customised reporting, enabling you to track and monitor energy consumption throughout the facility. With the sustainability drive in full swing, this is a great way to prove your social conscience and enrich your reputation.
Ultimately, there’s little doubt that investing in an LED system will prove a big boost to your bottom line. The low-energy technology means reduced fuel bills and less time and money spent replacing bulbs in fiddly places.
Most importantly though, a brightly-lit environment creates a happier, healthier workforce, which is in turn more productive and likely to stick around.