lighting for well-being

How to improve your wellbeing through light whilst working remotely

At Helvar we have been focusing on improving our offices to ensure an optimum place of work. Our WELL certification application process has significantly helped in meeting our goals. Due to the increasing spread of COVID-19, our employees have been forced to work remotely. Needless to say, one’s working environment may vary with some people working in home offices, the kitchen, the bedroom, the living room or even the garden. The Helvar offices benefit from lighting control systems tuned to employee wellbeing and productivity. Unfortunately, our homes may not benefit from this luxury, so how can we ensure that we remain productive?

You might not miss the noise from a busy office with chatty colleagues but now you may have to deal with even noisier kids or a disturbing total silence. Many of us do not have the same ergonomic levels at our home office than we do at a real office. Generally, lighting in homes are designed more for relaxation and comfort rather than for effective working. Whilst it is uncertain on how long we may need to work remotely; it is important to ensure that we remain productive, so we have put together a few tips to enhance your wellbeing whilst working remotely.

The right amount of light

To enhance circadian rhythms, you need light during the day. The stronger the rhythms, the better you sleep, and we all know that sleeping well will improve your health. When choosing your working area at home, select an area where there is a proper amount of light that easily reaches your eyes. Areas where for example walls are white can create an atmosphere where reflected light increases your daily light dose. If you have areas with different colour temperatures, meaning that some lamps are cooler or warmer, it is recommended to be at the cooler area in the morning and during the day, and then to stay at the warmer area if you are working late in the evening.

Natural light

Staying cooped up in one space, without proper breaks is unproductive and will result in a lack of concentration and tiredness. It’s important to set regular routines which includes breaks. Selecting an area that benefits from large windows that allow daylight in would be advisable but take care to avoid glare. It might even be a good idea to venture out into the garden if possible, to get some fresh air- you could even take a skype call outside if the weather permits. But, please do follow regulations by your local authorities as some of us are living in areas where going outside is not recommended or even allowed.

It is often the case that home luminaires are not very well designed for lighting, but instead designed as a “cool feature” as part of the décor. They might be generating too much glare or are too inefficient for tasks or use flickering lamps. Look at your remote working areas through “lighting glasses” and think what the best location would be and for what time of the day. You can also try to improve the lighting in your workspace by moving some freestanding luminaires to an area if that is possible.

We hope that you find these tips useful and feel free to share your pictures of your workspaces to inspire others. Stay productive, but most importantly, stay safe during these unprecedented times.

Henri Juslen
Chief Future Illuminator, Helvar