A lot of factors go into making the workplace a more productive environment. Keeping the office the right temperature, playing some background music or ambient noise, and creating a welcoming break room all have their impact on the mood and well-being of any worker. However, it wasn’t until just recently that I realized just how much changing the lighting in my office space could make a difference in the way I work.
As somebody that deals with customers looking for new light bulbs for their homes and businesses, I can admit that I had not been using the most efficient lighting myself. It made me think about how mechanics often say that their own cars don’t run as well as the ones they fix for a living. Since the bulb over my desk was on its last limb, I figured it would be wise to finally switch to something more modern.
(For reference purposes, the current bulb over my office is a Westinghouse 45142 14A19/LED/SW/50)
The old bulb was a fairly standard spiral shaped compact fluorescent. While better than an incandescent bulb in terms of efficiency, it still wasn’t anything to write home about. When switching, I opted for a standard A-shaped LED. It was when I flipped the light switch back on that the figurative bulb in my head started to light up just about as bright as the LED.
The first thing I noticed was the sheer amount of life the bulb gave off. The previous bulb in the office had an initial lumen rating of about 800, and given that this thing had seen better days, I’m sure that wasn’t the number you would measure from it before I changed it. The current bulb clocks in with almost twice as much light power with a staggering 1500 lumens, a major upgrade given that both lamps claim to only use 14 Watts.
That brightness not only kept my workspace from feeling like a dimly illuminated crypt, but it also served almost like a wake-up call. The comparatively dim lighting always had me straining to see what was right in front of me at times. The extra brightness emitted from this lamp was just enough to help me see better and to eliminate most of the headaches I was previously suffering at work.
My next realization was the contrast in color. My best guess would be that our prior bulb was in the 2700-3000K range, lending to a soft, warm atmosphere. While this color is good for spaces like restaurants and more cozy and intimate spaces, it isn’t very ideal for an office space outside of maybe a conference room, break room, or space for clients. The warmth, combined with the dimness, was enough to make my workspace a very sleepy place.
The current bulb looming over my desk is more in the cooler daylight range, 5000K. The slight blue tint of the light makes it feel like I’m outside even on the cloudiest of days. Blue light like that found in natural light and LEDs is shown to have positive effects on memory, cognitive function, awareness, and overall productivity when used during the daytime hours.
In some ways, getting a cooler, brighter light bulb over my workspace did for me what my daily dose of caffeine wasn’t doing: keeping me awake, aware, and ready to take on my daily tasks with extra gusto. I would highly recommend changing your lighting where you work. It might just save you on not only your electric bill but also on that potential extra shot of espresso in your morning coffee.
This article was written by Alex Norris.