Many of us in the UK are finally getting back to shared workspaces, back onto the motorways and trains and into the office. Some of us are still happy to be working from home and feel long may it continue! Whether you’re relishing the commute or looking forward to more time in your home office, one thing we need to all consider is how sitting at our desk and being in the office make us feel. We spend so much time there that we need to ensure we’re as comfortable, happy and healthy and of course productive as we can be.
If you’ve been working at your company’s offices and now find yourself at home, this may be the first time you’ve ever thought about what makes a good workspace. With the prospect of a more long-term working from home scenario you need to consider what will make your desk and surrounding areas comfortable and productive for you. You need to look after your own well-being, mental health, and productivity.
Light and sound levels play a key role in ensuring you create a comfortable and productive workspace.
How do light levels affect us when we’re working?
The level of light around your desk and in the office is so important for comfort and productivity. Ergonomic lighting conditions improve wellbeing, motivation, effectiveness, performance, and satisfaction.
The fact that there is always a coveted office desk in shared workspaces tells us intuitively that daylight is a good thing to have when we’re working. In fact, daylight is essential in reducing eye strain and headaches. In studies it has been shown that a higher penetration of daylight in the office results in fewer days taken off work by employees due to not just eye health issues, but overall health issues including our mental health.
If you can position your desk by a window – that’s ideal but what if you’re faced with the long winter hours we experience in the UK, and let’s not even think about all those cloudy and dark days we get per year…The best solution is to create a layered approach to lighting that combines daylight, indirect light and task centric lighting.
How much light do we need at our desks?
Different tasks require different levels of light, and your age plays a big role in finding a comfortable and effective light level. Illuminance (measured in Lux) determines how much light falls in an area. If you’re over 45 years old, or if you’re visually impaired, you will need a Lux of 750 -1500 depending on the work you’re doing. If you’re under 45 you can work effectively with much less light – a Lux of 500 is ideal.
What is light colour and temperature?
Did you know that there are different light colours and temperatures that also play a part in visual comfort? This is measured in Kelvin. Have you ever noticed that in the morning the natural daylight is blueish in the early morning and as the day progresses it takes a more reddish tone? Warm, natural white and daylight bulbs and LEDs can help replicate areas of low natural daylight. As a general guide, daylight white light of 6,000 Kelvin is too bright for office-based tasks. 4,000 Kelvin is considered a neutral and productive light level.
Keep getting headaches? Clean the lights!
If you work in an open plan office or in a shared co-working space it’s not always easy to maintain the lights as there may be high-ceilings, lights that are difficult to access, or it might just not be clear whose responsibility it is to keep them maintained. Just by cleaning the lights and replacing any flickering bulbs the office becomes a much more comfortable workplace. Over time, reduced light levels and flickering can lead to tiredness, eye problems, and headaches. The ideal situation is to use long-life LED’s as they need very little maintenance and up-keep.
Why is noise such a problem in the office?
A recent study from the University of Berkeley found that:
- 40% said noise affects their ability to concentrate.
- 64% are dissatisfied when listening to others’ phone calls.
- 76% found the fact that they can be overheard disturbing.
Noisy offices full of disruptive sounds are less productive and affect a person’s overall well-being. Noise is one of the leading causes of decreased productivity and staff absenteeism in the UK’s offices.
It’s obviously hard to focus if you’re at a noisy desk but did you know that unexpected and unwelcome noise and sound affects the cardiovascular system, leading to hypertension, fatigue, headaches, anxiety, and anger? Getting the acoustics right where you work is essential!
How can you manage sound levels where you work?
The best approach is to use a selection of different acoustic treatments that deaden sound and prevent reverberation. You’re unlikely to achieve much by simply installing a desk divider or wall panels. Just like light – a layered approach is best. The use of acoustic wall panels or tiles, desk dividers and ceiling acoustic treatments is the perfect approach.
Ezobord has a wide range of acoustic solutions to help you do this.
Modern design can be the enemy of acoustics!
A bold statement but large expanses of smooth, hard surfaces like concrete combined with unadorned minimalist interiors without upholstery and fabrics, means we need to find ways to reduce sound reverberation and soundproof our offices without introducing fussy design elements. Concrete and stone surfaces enable sound to spread and targeted acoustic solutions will prevent excessive reverberation.
What to do next?
Check out your current light solutions in the office and see if by repositioning your desk or adding some additional lighting you can help create a healthier workspace. Then take a long hard listen. If you can add different elements of acoustic solutions to dampen the sound you hear and prevent reverberation, then you can create a peaceful and productive workspace wherever you find yourself working.
At Ezobord you can shop online for fast delivery of acoustic solutions for your office: walls, ceilings, desk dividers, space dividers and even acoustic notice boards and portable white boards.