If you are a business owner or employer, you probably understand the importance of having happy employees. Happy employees equal productive employees. And productive employees lead to a better chance of success in business.

Many employers have gone to great lengths to increase employee happiness, in an attempt to increase productivity. They stock the fridge full of healthy juice or reward staff if they meet sales targets. Others set up foosball tables or cook lunch together to build inter-office bonds.

Offices now often come equipped with ergonomic desks and personalized workspaces. But one of the most overlooked areas where employers can make improvements for their workers is in the lighting. The lighting in an office or work place can actually have a huge impact on an employee’s productivity, health, and happiness.

Most offices are lit by artificial lighting, which no matter how you cut it, can have its drawbacks. The two main complaints when it comes to traditional artificial lighting is that it is either too dim or, more often, too harsh.

When the lighting is too dim, it can affect productivity in several ways. Obviously, it is harder to see when it is dark, but dim lights can also cause people to have strained eyes because the eyes have to work harder to see in low light. It can also lead to headaches because of that same reason. Furthermore, dim lighting can also cause people to become drowsy or feel tired, which, again affects productivity.

When the lighting is too bright, on the other hand, it can also have adverse effects on people. Harsh lighting can trigger migraines in people and can cause problems for the eyes. One common complaint for artificial lighting like fluorescent lights is that the harsh, flickering lights can also make it difficult for the eyes to focus.

One solution to combat harsh or dim lighting is to replace it with natural lighting. Sunlight and bright windows can greatly change the response people have to coming into the workplace, and a naturally lit room is simply a pleasant one. Studies on natural lighting have found that productivity can increase exponentially by improving the quality of light. By installing a few windows or a couple of overhead skylights, large changes in productivity can follow.

However, depending on the type of building or workplace set-up, it might not be possible to install natural light. Perhaps the offices are in the interior of the building and there are no exterior walls or it might simply be too costly to make such major renovations.

While the cost of a lighting renovation can seem daunting, it might be worth considering the investment. Not only by increasing productivity in your employees but if your lighting system is more than 20 years old, you might be wasting money on energy draining lights. You can save large amounts of money by upgrading to energy and cost efficient lighting sources.

If it is impossible to install new windows or skylights, consider upgrading the artificial lighting to a spectrum that is beneficial to your employees. You can also consider installing individual lights for so that people can have control over their own lighting and they can then adjust it to their personal preference. For example, you can have several types of lighting installed, each on a dimmer so that the lights can be adjusted for optimal effect throughout the day.

Office lighting should be flexible and energy-saving and, when possible, natural. Or as close to natural as possible. When it comes to employee happiness, it will go a long way to invest in the lighting system and can save (and make) you money in the long run.

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