How to enhance productivity at work

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well lit workplace
Proper lighting can enhance workplace productivity
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Enhance productivity at work with a few simple changes to the office environment

When cartoonists need to show that a character in a drawing just had a brilliant idea, they always illustrate it with a bright light bulb above the character’s head. This got me thinking – can the reverse scenario also work? Can a business enhance productivity at work by changing the lighting?

It turns out this is one of the more effective ways to improve productivity and creativity in the workplace.

In the workplace, constant exposure to bright lights can cause headaches and force employees to be less productive. They may take time off due to illness, rearrange their work space to change the lighting but possibly make it less ergonometric, or even move to another location where they can see better but might be less accessible to phones or computers. This can also happen if the lights are too dim or if their intensity is controlled by someone else in the facility who has different lighting issues. Fortunately, office lighting is something that is easy to address and control, especially at the individual level.

Natural lighting has the most benefits, both physically and psychologically - most workers do better with a window. Unfortunately, individual windows are often difficult or impossible accommodations. Giving workers common areas with natural lighting - like lounges and eating areas - are a big help. The next step is to adjust the artificial lighting in the work space.

If possible, lighting in a office, cubicle or workspace should be specialized according to the worker's tasks. Employees doing close-up work need localized bright lights while those who spend time meeting with individuals or groups might prefer softer, overhead lights to stimulate conversation.

To make workers more productive through lighting, comfort is a key factor. Overhead fluorescent lighting has long been on the way out for many reasons but is still prevalent in many work areas. If they can't be removed or replaced, it helps to use a softer tint bulb. Better still is to turn off the fluorescents and give employees individual lights. Studies have shown that fixtures with perimeter wall washing - pointing lights at the walls - is more comfortable than pointing lights directly at the employee or the work surface.

Another way to enhance productivity with lighting is to give workers their own controls over  brightness and dimming. Studies have found that employees are more motivated when they feel they have some control over their work environment. They feel it makes their area more attractive and that makes them happier and more productive.

Of course, corporations and small businesses alike are concerned about the costs of changing workplace lighting. Fortunately, new advances in LED technology have made these lights more energy efficient, resulting in utility savings and quicker return on investment. Because LED lights and light strips are smaller and easier to work with, installation and moving them to improve efficiency and comfort is easy, as is customization for special requirements.

A cartoonist's light bulb above a head symbolizes one good idea. Putting quality adjustable lighting above the heads of workers will enable them to generate lots of great ideas and be more productive every day of the year.

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