The Harsh Reality of UK Office Lighting

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December 2018

The Harsh Reality of

UK Office Lighting

A word from Staples At Staples our expertise goes well beyond office supplies to encompass all elements of the physical WORKSPACE. We shine the light on what makes the office tick. And we’re passionate about helping businesses create spaces that work – from the moment you first turn the lights on in the morning, to the moment you leave at night. Across the years we’ve learnt that no matter whether our office is large or small, at home or abroad, there is one element of the WORKSPACE that remains crucial: having the right lighting. Why? Well, because having the right lighting is important from more than just a functional point of view. The right sort of lighting cares for people: it impacts employee well-being by influencing the body’s biorhythm and energy levels. It adds a comforting glow to break spaces, and brings a bold and contemporary feel to meet spaces. And it can also add stylish design, zone different areas, and give an office character. Fundamentally, no office space works without the right lighting. We believe so passionately about this that we even offer Staples lighting consultations, to guide businesses on how to improve their lighting. But sadly, our latest research has unearthed a harsh reality – that too many WORKSPACES have poor lighting. Read on to find out what can be done about this problem.



of UK office workers say lighting in the office is important to them

say their office is depressing or demotivating

What makes office lighting so important? There is an important connection between office WORKSPACES, and the people that work in them. Get the WORKSPACE right, and this connection can bring incredible business benefits. But get it wrong, and as our previous report Vocation Frustration has shown, things can easily go downhill. There’s no denying the benefits that good quality lighting brings. Daylight is so powerful that just 13 minutes of sun per day will give you ‘reasonable’ levels of vitamin D, and exposure to sunlight, especially in the morning, is proven to have significant antidepressant benefits.

Office workers left in the dark With the right light being so important to our welfare, lighting in the WORKSPACE can have a huge influence on our performance. For example, lighting is one of the crucial factors that impacts how people feel about their physical work environments. But the sad truth is that too many workers are having to put up with inferior lighting – whether from offices that use harsh or uncomfortable strobe lighting or WORKSPACES that are inefficiently lit, dull, and uninspiring.

40% 15%

say the lighting in their office is uncomfortable


love their office

During the winter, when there is virtually zero natural light either side of the working day, the matter of lighting is even more important. At this time, the lighting available in the work environment – even if it’s dull or uncomfortable – may be the only light office workers get access to. Workers are commuting to and from their offices in the dark, over half (according to some reports ) are not even leaving their desks to get outside at lunch, and the light in UK offices leaves much to be desired. This is having a detrimental impact on employee well-being, with many feeling frustrated as a result.

One-in-four are frustrated at having to deal with poor lighting

On 18 December sunrise is at 08:01 and sunset is 15:52 in the UK, leaving most office workers in the shadows as they grind through the darkest working week of the year

A way forward So, what can organisations do to help the situation? Well, the answer is simple. Better lighting contributes to a better overall office environment. And, at Staples we understand the importance of getting the WORKSPACE right. Because when your space works, everything works. At Staples we work with lighting experts who guide and consult businesses on the best solutions for them, and we can help create functional and inspiring spaces, with the right light.

Lighting is an important part of the office environment, so adopt high quality and effective lighting solutions. Making sure that the office WORKSPACE provides employees with much-needed natural light, and ensuring that they can get outside during the day, is also likely to help inspire and motivate them Staples

For employers that want to make a difference, solutions such as seasonal affective disorder (SAD) lamps are proven to help workers that might otherwise suffer from light depravation at darker times of the year. Research has also shown that in the morning, a cold-tone light with high illuminance values is best for productivity. Biodynamic lighting will then allow this to transition to reduced brightness and set a relaxing warm-tone light in the afternoon/evening. A third of office workers (32%) say that better lighting would make them happier at work. And two thirds (68%) are more likely to feel valued by their organisation if it invests in their office space. Half say that better lighting would make them happier. Ultimately, effective lighting can lead to happier, less frustrated workers. Why wouldn’t any employer want that?

Methodology The research comprised of an online survey of 7,000 office workers, conducted by independent research agency Arlington Research in October 2018. The research sample consisted of a sample of desk based office workers from ten European countries including: United Kingdom (2,000), Germany (1,000), France (500), Netherlands (500), Sweden (500), Norway (500), Spain (500), Italy (500), Portugal (500) and Finland (500).

When your space works, everything works.

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