Seasonal Affective Disorder – sometimes known as S.A.D.
Are you S.A.D? Are your employees S.A.D?
Poorly lit workplaces can cause fatigue. Also loss of productivity and increase in ‘human error’. Bad lighting can cause headaches and a variety of depressive anxiety disorders – one of which is S.A.D.
Poorly lighting may also contribute to poor posture, which in turn leads to eye strain, RSI (repetitive strain injury) and chronic fatigue syndromes. In winter – good lighting is critical to maintaining a motivated, productive and healthy workforce. In Scotland – in winter – even more so.
This is especially true when most of us work for long hours under artificial light that is usually not appropriate for the tasks we carry out.
Bad lighting sucks – I have actually been in a UNISON office where the lighting was so bad that a guy had to wear a baseball cap at his desk.
UNISON are the Trade Union who look out for your health and welfare at work – pity they were not doing the same for their own people!
Kinda ironic – he was sitting under “state of the art” T5 luminaires providing him with a brain numbing 1273 lux on his desk!
Just because it is new or specified as “state of the art” doesn’t mean it is right.
S.A.D. affects almost 10% of the UK population in winter.
If all of that isn’t enough to spur you into action to improve the lighting in your office or factory just consider the upside of making changes.
Good lighting can increase productivity by as much as 15%.
A well designed lighting system can save you thousands of pounds in electricity savings.
What can be done to alleviate S.A.D. and make us all happy?
Here are just a few of the simple steps that you can take to improve employee well-being and job satisfaction as well as reducing operating costs:
- Just talk to your employees to find out which areas are too bright or too dim or just lousy (flickering, old tubes for example).
- Bring in an expert (like me!!!!! Stewart King ) to do the exercise professionally.
- Check that light levels are appropriate for the task in hand (too much light can be just as bad as too little!).
- Remove lamps that are not needed and maximise use of natural daylight.
- Think about the colours in your workplace – colour can be instrumental in enhancing the mood of employees.
- Make sure walls are adequately lit so personnel working on a desktop / laptop can focus on a distant object. This reduces eye strain by exercising the eye muscles appropriately.
Recently a new photo-receptor was discovered in the eye with no association with vision. Instead it is linked to the pineal gland which controls hormone levels and our body-clock. The sensitivity of this cell is shown to be way into the blue end of the visual spectrum. So, using cooler colour temperature lamps (such as 5600-6500K Daylight LEDs) you can enhance lighting effects without massively increasing energy consumption.
Out with the yellow in other words – get rid of those horrid gold and yellow SON lamps. These are still sold as the “best lighting for swimming pools” – haha!
Yes, they are very efficient – so was a Tyrannosaurus Rex – that doesn’t mean you want one in your building!
Lighting standard BS EN 12464 states that “lamps with CRI (Colour Rendition Index) less than 80 should not be used in interiors where people work or stay for long periods”