Let there be light – keep your team at the top of their game!
Sleep, productivity and mood are all affected by light. This is because of the human ‘circadian rhythm’, our 24-hour internal clock. In simple terms, when it is dark, our brain sends a hormone signal to make us tired, while light has the opposite effect. If our circadian rhythm is upset, we are likely to feel weary in the daytime and yet have difficulty sleeping at night.
Evoke Projects has some office design tips to optimise lighting during your next office fit-out. We referred to the WELL Building Standard™ (WELL), which aims to promote health and well-being through building and office design. WELL’s lighting guidelines help minimise disruption to the body’s circadian system, support good sleep quality and provide appropriate visual acuity.
Improve the natural light in your office design
There is plenty of evidence to show the advantages of being exposed to natural light during your workday. Evoke Projects works closely with office fit-out clients on new office designs that optimise natural light. As well as helping to synchronise the body’s circadian rhythm, daylight reduces the likelihood of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a condition that causes depression in office workers who don’t get enough natural light during their day.
Specifically, WELL recommends that office designs promote exposure to daylight and views of varying distances by limiting the distance workstations can be from a window or atrium. The detailed WELL Building Standard states:
Lease Depth: 75% of the area of all regularly occupied spaces is within 7.5 m of view windows.
a. 75% of all workstations are within 7.5 m of an atrium or a window with views to the exterior.
b. 95% of all workstations are within 12.5 m of an atrium or a window with views to the exterior.
Reduce glare, heat gain and reflection
Balancing energy performance, thermal comfort and access to quality daylight are essential to proper building and office design. This means optimising light but minimising glare and heat gain. Window shades and dimmable lights can assist with this. The WELL Building Standard has very detailed parameters for window sizes, and visible and uniform colour transmittance. Evoke Projects can discuss these with you during your next office fit-out or refurbishment.
Overhead lights can cause uncomfortable glare for employees, so ensure lamps are appropriately shielded.
Also, watch out for glare from computer monitors. This can be avoided by following the WELL recommendations for office design:
a. To minimise glare caused by incoming sunlight, all computer screens at desks located within 4.5 m of view windows can be oriented within a 20° angle perpendicular to the plane of the nearest window.
b. Overhead luminaires are not aimed directly at computer screens.
Ceilings and walls can help reflect light
When undertaking your next office refurbishment or office fit-out, select the finish on ceilings, walls and office furniture carefully. Surfaces with higher light reflectance values (LRV) have more light reflected from the source, resulting in better light intensity and improved alertness and activity from employees. Higher LRV surfaces ensure that enough light reaches the eye without increasing energy consumption or glare. This is a good office design strategy for promoting wellness.
Optimise workstation lighting in your office design
Different levels of light are required in different office spaces. At a workstation, where tasks are performed, a higher level of brightness will be required than in the hallway.
When the Evoke Projects’ office design team is consulting with clients on office refurbishments and office fit-outs, we look at the WELL Building Standard, which recommends that for workstations or desks:
a. The ambient lighting system is able to maintain an average light intensity of 215 lux or more, measured on the horizontal plane, 0.76 m above finished floor. The lights may be dimmed in the presence of daylight, but they are able to independently achieve these levels.
b. The ambient lighting system is zoned in independently controlled banks no larger than 46.5 m² or 20% of open floor area of the room (whichever is larger).
c. If ambient light is below 300 lux, task lights providing 300 to 500 lux at the work surface are available upon request.
Other lighting tips for your next office fit-out or refurbishment:
- Use occupancy sensors to automatically dim lights or switch on/off.
- Install responsive lights that automatically change according to the amount of daylight coming into the office.
- Use automatic shades to reduce sunlight glare.
- Window tinting can reduce glare and heat, although it also reduces light, so use darker tints on windows that have the harshest glare and lighter tints on other windows.
The WELL Building Standard has much more detail about office design and lighting best practice. Please visit their website for more information or talk to the team at Evoke Projects.
A new office fit-out or office refurbishment is a great time to think about general office wellness. Please call Evoke Projects on 1300 720 692 to find out about office designs that focus on wellness.