Effective office lighting does more than illuminate a space. Modern lighting systems are also about triggering positive feelings that positively impact employee productivity and morale. Boosting productivity often provides a greater return on investment (ROI), compared to other common cost-saving measures like reducing operating expenses.
How significant are the savings? Using the 3/30/300 rule, developed by commercial real estate firm JLL, organizations can break down their expenses. For example,
- $3 for utilities
- $30 for rent/mortgage
- $300 for payroll
The average commercial building is around 15,000 square feet, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. So, using the 3/30/300 formula businesses are spending annually,
- $45,000 for utilities
- $450,000 for rent/mortgage
- $4.5 million for payroll
The same formula also calculates the savings associated with effective lighting.
- Reducing utility costs by 50 percent equals $22,500 in savings annually
- Improving space utilization by 10 percent will save $45,000
- Increasing employee productivity by 5 percent will save $225,000
Investing in energy-efficient lighting does produce noticeable savings, but the design and installation are crucial to see an increase in employee productivity. It includes investing in lighting controls that automatically adjust the light’s color temperature and intensity to match employees’ circadian rhythms throughout the day.
Here’s a look at what you should know about how to use lighting to maximize employee productivity.
Color Correlated Temperature Lighting
Color correlated temperatures (CCTs) mimic natural lighting. By replicating the sun’s path throughout the day, businesses can design lighting that improves employees’ comfort, resulting in improved productivity.
Cool-tuned lighting with color correlated temperatures between 5000K – 7000K is comparable with bright sunlight. The bluish-white light stimulates cognitive function and helps employees stay alert and focused during the day.
Warmer light with CCTs at or below 3000K mimics the natural light from the setting sun. The lower light intensity signals the body it is time to start slowing down.
Building owners and managers can use lighting controls to set a schedule. For example, during a typical 9 am to 5 pm workday, an effective lighting schedule may look like this,
- 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. – 6500K
- 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. – 3000-4000K
- 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. – 6500K
- 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. – 3000-4000K
Using cool light that warms up towards lunchtime helps optimize morning productivity. Going through the cycle again after the break will help prevent employees from getting tired in the afternoon. Slowly warming the light’s color towards the end of the day gets employees mentally prepared to end the workday.
Not all spaces need scheduled lighting. Areas like bathrooms, breakrooms, and kitchens can use warmer lighting to create a relaxed and inviting atmosphere.
For organizations considering an LED retrofit or upgrading to next gen LEDs, we have an entire series of blogs dedicated to Calculation LED Savings. We also have an eBook, The Essential Guide to Calculating Energy Savings and ROI on any Lighting Project, that will walk you through calculating your savings!
An effective lighting design also considers the purpose of the space. Once you know how the space is used, you can determine the type of task lighting best suited to support the room’s function.
Some examples of task lighting include adjustable desk lamps, ceiling-mounted downlights, and shelf or cabinet lighting. Regardless of the type of lighting, it should be adjustable so employees can find the right brightness and contrast levels to complete their tasks.
Vertical lighting is an ideal option for computer desks. You may also want to consider using ambient lighting in enclosed spaces to make them feel more inviting. Accent and decorative lighting can highlight architectural features, making a space seem more welcoming.
Spaces with multiple layers of adjustable light reduce annoying glare and allow employees to customize it for their comfort, which increases productivity.
Use Lighting Controls to Increase Employee Productivity
Human-centric lighting uses controls to adjust the light during the day. It allows employees to create a comfortable environment and has the added bonus of improving job satisfaction.
Along with allowing employees to adjust the lighting, building owners and managers want to retain some control to avoid overloading the system.
Preset controls still allow employees to make some adjustments while ensuring the system isn’t overloaded. For example, using cool lighting during a brainstorming meeting and adjusting it to a warmer temperature for negotiations.
Along with using presets, dimmers also increase the lighting’s versatility. Installing dimmers on task lighting fixtures is another way employees can improve their comfort and productivity.
Improve Employee Productivity with LED Lighting
Lighting is more than a way to illuminate a space, it also sets the atmosphere and can improve employee productivity. To learn more about how you can reduce operating costs and boost productivity with lighting, contact us today!