Light and temperature can have a surprisingly large impact on employee performance. 7 tips for a higher return:
# 1. Make people alert with blue light
A blue glow above an office, is the best medicine for an office worker who should keep his attention at an important task. That is what american researchers recently reported in the scientific journal Sleep. Blue light would give people a boost that is similar to a few cups of coffee. The color of light is determined by the wavelength of the light. The shorter the wavelength, the more light particles (photons) are sent per second the more energy the light contains. The scientists asked a group of subjects to be exposed to blue light with a relatively short wavelength, for 6.5 hours, . Then they had to make tests in which their responsiveness was measured. In control was another group of people exposed to green light, that like traditional white light has a higher wavelength. The people who had been in a while blue light, proved to be performing very well at the reaction tests. They scored significantly higher than the subjects who had been exposed to green light. According to lead researcher Steven Lockley blue light serves as a stimulant in the Office. ‘Compare it with the way we use caffeine to stay alert, ‘he says. ‘Light can have the same effect, but in a natural way.’
# 2. Evening services make bearable with red light
Although light with a short wavelength gives people energy during the day, at night the production of melatonin will be disturbed as light particles are emitted by lamps at high speed. The body clock loses natural rhythm causing psychological symptoms. According to researchers from Clyde University, it is therefore better to use red light (with a long wavelength) for evening services. This light suppresses the production of melatonin. The scientists tested their theory on hamsters. They observed the animals while they slept in red light, white light, blue light, or in absolute darkness. Then they tested the mental health of the hamsters by their behavior. If the animals showed relatively little interest for sugar water, a mixture they are normally fond of, for example, that was taken as a sign of depression. Of course the hamsters showed the least complaints after nights in a dark environment. But red light also had hardly a negative effect on their vote. These findings are useful for people, because our brain responds in a similar way to light.
# 3. Drive out the afternoon dip with red light
The brain activity that comes around four o’clock and cuases the afternoon dip, corresponds to the brain waves that our brain has at night. At that time our body makes melatonin as well. With red light the fatigue that the body feels can be reduced without disturbing the body clock. The American Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute reported an interesting research in the scientific journal Physiology & Behavior. They exposed subjects in the afternoon for 45 minutes to red led lights. The high wavelength of this light caused a decrease in the power of certain brain waves (alpha and theta waves) that are associated with drowsiness. That was also evident in the reactions of the subjects. After the light therapy almost all participants felt less sleepy than before. So it is fair to say that when designing a new office interior the lighting plan should be an integral part of it.
# 4. Increase the pace of work with the heating
A little sweating is good for the pace of work in an Office. Research at the Clyde University shows that employees are more active in front of their computers and make fewer mistakes as the room temperature rises. The remarkable research by scientist Alan Hedge took place in 2004 in an insurance office in the City mof Glasgow. For a month he recorded the number of keystrokes of the 49 employees and the number of times they entered text later corrected. The temperature increased slowly in the course of four weeks of 20 degrees to 25 degrees Celsius. ‘Workers typed at 25 degrees twice as much in a minute if at 20 degrees’, he explains in The Scotsman. In addition, the subjects made more errors when the temperature was low. A warm office environment can therefore save employers money, claims Hedge. ‘ About 2 dollars per employee per hour.’ Obviously, hot and coldespots should be avoided. This can easily be achieved with Underfloor Heating Glasgow. Woth underfloor heating there is less airflow and the temperature only drops 2 degrees at the height of two meters. Undefloor heating als runs at much lower temperatures, thus saving even more money.
# 5. Drive out passivity with air conditioning
There is some confusion though as far as the temperature in offices is concerned. If the temperature rises to above the 25 degrees, then the performance of most people go down. That calculated Shin-ichi Tanabe, a Professor of architecture at the University of Tokyo. At each degree rise above 26 degrees the productivity of the average worker would decrease with 2 percent, according to the New York Times. To cut a long story short: an air conditioning system will pay for itself according in one hot summer. There is more disagreement among scientists about the optimum working temperature. A study at the University of Helsinki found that most Finns do not perform well at 25 degrees, but do 22 degrees.
# 6. Avoid sleepy morning faces with sunlight
With workstations in dark corners of an office you create employees that haven’t had sufficient sleep during the night. Employees with a desk at a great distance from a window will sleep on average 46 minutes shorter than people who did work in sunlight. Scientists gace 49 Office workers an electronic bracelet that kept an eye on how much natural light they were exposed to and what their sleep patterns were. The subjects also had to complete questionnaires about their mental alertness and activity. What turned out to be? People who were sitting near a window during the day, did not only sleep longer, they also feel fitter. They also spent more time on sports outside the working hours. Lead researcher Mohamed Boubekri therefore recommends that workstations in offices should always be posotioned within seven meters of a window. ‘ The daylight from side windows disappears almost completely if you are further away from the window.’ Good architects take this into account when designing an office building and so do office fit out companies.
# 7. Care for creativity with twilight
Most creative ideas arise in the dark but other experiments show that if the emphasis is on logical reasoning rather than on creativity, tests can be made better in bright spaces. According to main field of Steidel Anna the ideal office contains therefore both light and darker rooms. ‘Then you have the right light Setup for all activities in the House.’