How to improve workplace productivity and happiness with the flick of a switch
Mental health and wellbeing are starting to get the attention they deserve in wider society, the important role good lighting can play in the workplace is also now coming to the forefront of many business owners’ minds. Here, Managing Director at Eco UK Group, Steve Gardner, explores the benefits of a brighter workplace.
Lighting can bring a host of subtle benefits and help alleviate negative conditions that hamper both mood and wellbeing; but what are the key reasons good quality lighting should not be left in the dark?
Shining a positive light on mental health
When you enter a space, living or working, commercial or industrial, one of the first things you notice, whether you are conscious of it or not, is the lighting. Subtly, it will change the way you feel about a space. You don’t have to be an expert in feng shui or psychology to recognise that bright, well-lit spaces that include, or replicate, natural daylight are the most beneficial to someone’s mood. While dark and dingy environments can have negative effects.
The time has come to pay more attention to issues that can influence mental health in the workplace. Larger cultural changes accelerated by the pandemic – like flexible and home working – are contributing to that requirement, with peer group pressure even increasing when working in isolation.
But people in the know will tell you that good mental health is often achieved by actively making and benefiting from lots of little decisions. Whether it’s a decision to give yourself enough sleep, eat the right things, take the time to exercise or make time for yourself, lots of little positive decisions add up to make a big difference. One of those decisions is your working environment – and lighting plays a huge part in making that a positive place.
Employers must play their part to ensure their teams have a good, safe and welcoming working environment by providing a positive, bright and well-lit place of work. They ensure that that little decision is fulfilled everyday by installing good lighting. So how exactly does a good lighting set-up allow employees to be more productive?
Making light work of it?
Good lighting first and foremost removes any practical frustrations. Whether it’s working at a computer at a desk or at a distribution centre, lighting that ensures visibility and achieves no glare is vital. A lighting set up that casts large shadows is not just frustrating, it can play havoc with Zoom and Teams calls and can lead to injuries like slipping, tripping and falling in busy warehouses due to poor visibility.
However, it goes deeper than that. Research has shown that 67% of employees believe they are more productive in workplaces that promote a healthy environment and one-third said they lose at least an hour of productivity each day due to office environments that don’t support their daily health.
Don’t leave workers in the dark
Good lighting will give your employees the necessary baseline platform to succeed, but perhaps what is more significant, is what happens when the opposite is true. The reality is, it’s imperative to avoid bad lighting, which can lead to headaches, eyestrain and even skin conditions. In the winter months in particular, bad lighting can accelerate the impact of what has been identified as ‘Seasonal Affective Disorder’, in which the short days and early onset of darkness negatively affect moods.
Aside from what could be considered as relatively mild conditions, poor illumination in industrial settings can have serious consequences and should be treated as a significant health and safety issue.
Staff want their workplace to be an inviting and attractive environment, and lighting plays a huge role in creating that atmosphere as well as making it a safer place to be. We spend so much of our lives in the workplace, so it is not unreasonable that it should be set-up to benefit not just our work but also our health. It doesn’t have to be a choice between happiness and productivity, in the best workplaces the two go hand in hand. If you can easily create a workplace that serves to try to improve employee wellbeing as well as keeping them safe, why wouldn’t you do so?
A little light please
With the flick of a switch, a small change can be made in offices and more active workplaces, like warehouses, that helps improve employee wellbeing and ultimately productivity. Lighting is a fundamental part of creating a positive workplace environment that cares about giving employees the best possible chance of maintaining wellbeing.
Although lighting has its many benefits, it’s not the panacea to resolving wellbeing obstacles. However, it’s an important factor that workplaces can easily get right to ensure all employees are working in the best conditions they can be while playing a part in preventing some ailments, improving productivity and making their outlook brighter.
What makes us susceptible to burnout?
In this episode of the Safety & Health Podcast, ‘Burnout, stress and being human’, Heather Beach is joined by Stacy Thomson to discuss burnout, perfectionism and how to deal with burnout as an individual, as management and as an organisation.
We provide an insight on how to tackle burnout and why mental health is such a taboo subject, particularly in the workplace.