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How LEDs are Increasing Productivity in Offices

We have heard for a while now that LEDs can increase productivity in workplaces, and an office in Prague has installed Philips LED lighting which is designed to support workers circadian rhythms over the course of the day, increasing energy so that they feel happy at work. Here's some of the science behind it.

Lighting in the workplace is much more important than you might expect. The US Bureau of Labour Statistics said that over 52 million knowledge workers were employed in 2013. A knowledge worker is someone whose job involves creating, analysing or acting on information. Lots of these knowledge workers have said that lighting affects their productivity - with a separate study by Bruskin Golding Research finding that 85% of their respondents said that they suffered from headaches as a result of poor lighting at work. The EU has a project, Lighting for People and this proves that proper workplace lighting improves workplace productivity. The findings of the project show that the right lighting can regulate the body clock of employees, boost their mental performance and help them feel more alert. 

LED lighting is the best type of lighting available to increase productivity. The bulbs are much brighter than halogen alternatives and they use less energy, so they are ideal for cost-saving as well as increasing productivity. LED lighting is known as indoor sunlight - so if you're stuck in an office and you don't get much sunlight, LEDs can be a worthy substitute. Bright rooms can increase production of serotonin to improve moods, making employees feel happier. LEDs can reduce strain on the eyes and fatigue, helping employees with their workload comfortably. 

A 2011 investigation by the University of Basel tested the use of blue-based, LED-backlit computers in the evening for five hours. The study found that the volunteers who were exposed to the LED lighting produced less melatonin, felt less tired and performed better in attention tests, than volunteers who were exposed to a fluorescent-lit screen. This shows that you should include as many blue-toned LEDs as possible in an office design. 

 Back to the office in Prague, a manager at Philips Lighting said that exposure to a comfortable bright light for one hour can provide a mild energy stimulus, similar to drinking a cup of coffee. According to Philips, exposing humans to a setting of 5,000 Kelvins at 780 lux for between 1-4 hours to increase alertness. Based on their research, the office lighting changes at set points throughout the day to increase energy at key points. Here's how it works:

  • At the beginning of the day, the lights mimic natural daylight to provide an energy boost.
  • The light levels then decrease until after lunch, when they are brightened again to give a post-lunch boost.
  • Light settings can be overridden to suit worker needs and controlled using touchscreen pads on the wall.
The lighting was changed as part of an overall office redesign to increase the productivity of workers. The designers replaced fluorescent tube lights with 2,000 LED bulbs. Sensors were also installed to turn the lights off if the room becomes empty. 
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