Simple lighting tips to boost productivity

The amount of light you’re exposed to across the workday can have a major impact on your health and your productivity.

Improper lighting is draining for your eyes and can result in migraines, headaches and eye strain. 

Natural light is always best, but if it’s not possible in your space, we have some inspiring tips to help you bring that sun-drenched feeling to your desk, no matter your space.

1. Search out the light

Work near a source of natural light

Natural light in your workspace will present in different ways from morning to afternoon – from a blazing sun to a dappled glow. Don’t just watch it move across the room – chase it. Set up a few small ‘hot desks’ and regularly shift to capture the best light. Whether it’s the kitchen bench, your office nook or a window seat, a change of environment will not only maximise your access to natural light, it may even inspire a fresh way of thinking.

If you’re in a collaborative workplace, or updating your workplace lighting design for your employees, make sure everyone has the right light for their output. For example, your graphic designer’s needs may differ from your bookkeeper’s. Moving desk spots based on individual requirements may ultimately be more efficient for your business.

2. Green is gold

indoor plants brighten up your workspace

If you can’t get more light into your space, create a fresh feeling by bringing nature indoors. Bowls of bright, fresh fruit or lush, leafy plants, or a crisp bunch of flowers can do wonders for your workspace.

“Studies suggest that bringing green into your home and workspace can provide some of the healing potential of the natural environment,” says landscape architect Sophie Wilkinson.

The plants you choose will need to tolerate low light so they don’t end up withering. “The ‘peace lily’ is pretty easy to look after and has a nice, dark green shiny leaf.” 

3. Surfaces are key

White furniture and surfaces reflect light

When you’re adjusting your lighting scheme, consider what surfaces or furnishings may be absorbing your natural light. Dirty windows, heavy curtains or overgrown plants could all be contributing factors for a lack of light in your workspace. A quick clean or trim will ensure the sun can stream in.

When it comes to furniture and decorative items, glass, mirrors, or shiny high quality plastic will reflect more light throughout your space. Adding a mirror will also help create the illusion of light and reflect what’s already there. If you do have a window and want to maximise the feeling it projects, then place a similar sized mirror on the wall as close to the window as possible – creating the illusion of one, larger window.

4. Craft your own light

Lighting can affect your focus and concentration

When it comes to creating the perfect light for your workspace, the simplest solution is to build on what you have. With pendants, desk lamps, soft spotlights and LED strip lighting, you can sculpt the perfect level for your needs. “Layered lighting is key,” says electrician and lighting specialist Dave Vineberg of Dvine Electrics. “It allows you to gently build your look via a number of different lighting sources that can range from soft and ambient to more practical.”

Shifting natural light can create shadows, which you want to avoid. “By having a variety of options, you can turn lights on and off throughout the day as the natural light changes,” says Vineberg. “This will help fill any gaps, [prevent glare on screens], avoid harsh over-lighting and create a really nice, natural vibe in your space.”

5. Fake it when you can’t make it

Switch your lighting to boost productivity

No windows? A great alternative is to simply create the view you crave, says brand and lifestyle consultant Rachel Torti.

A calm, broad canvas of a landscape or a leafy green, framed print will lift the feel of a room. “It’s inspiring to look at something you love regularly,” she says.

You can also dress the room from the bottom up to create a ‘sunshine-y’ feeling – either with paint, rugs, tiles or floorboards. Polished floorboards or light-coloured flooring will create a feeling of space and a coloured rug will add a fresh feel.