Want to motivate workers? Give them an office with a dimmer switch. That’s because, as a new study indicates, office workers who have the ability to change the brightness of their lighting tend to be more motivated to perform their work.
The study, part of a research project by the Light Right Consortium, sought to determine the impact of different forms of realistic office lighting on workers and whether the lighting contributed to the well-being of the employees.
Temporary office workers were hired to labor under one of six different lighting conditions for a full day. The workers performed both clerical and cognitive office work while evaluating their office environment and assessing their moods. The study area, performed at a lighting lab in Albany, New York, consisted of a typical open office floor plan (cubicles) and lighting conditions ranged from overhead to indirect, with brightness controls or without.
Overall, 91 percent of the office workers stated they preferred lighting that offered direct/indirect lighting (light that projects both up and down from a single fixture), wall washing and dimming controls for the overhead lighting in their workstations.
According to the study, satisfaction with lighting caused workers to believe their workspace was more attractive, while also breeding happier employees who were more comfortable and satisfied with their work environment and their work.
Workers who were able to control their lighting were found to be consistently productive throughout the day while traditionally, workers become less motivated and productive as the day progresses. When armed with lighting control, the workers also were found to be more accurate and persistent with work that required sustained attention.
Interestingly, workers who could control their own lighting tended to choose light levels that were lower than traditional office lighting, although the degree to which their set their levels varied considerably. This, said researchers, indicates that offices should consider using lower wattage overhead or ambient lights supplemented by brighter local lights that can be controlled by the worker.