Companies succeed when employees enjoy what they are doing. But the truth is, work is work and not every job is a dream job. So how do you achieve that elusive goal of employee satisfaction? There are plenty of best sellers out there that claim to have the solution. Management tips, employee perks, and company culture are all work to try to increase the happiness of workers. But did you know that something as simple as changing the light in your office could have a huge effect on people’s moods? Read on to learn how you can boost employee morale with decorative light covers!
The Old Office Environment
The traditional office space was a pretty dreary place to work. Large rooms full of beige cubicles housing dozens of employees were boring at best. After a while, many workers feel like the physical environment of their office is sapping their will to work. Popular culture often spoofs this common setup, noting just how unpleasant it can be.
In an attempt to make workers happier and more productive, and to build a successful company culture, businesses have been experimenting. Starting in the 1990s with the dot-com boom, companies have been trying out all kinds of tricks to keep employees happy. Many offices now include mini-kitchens, ping pong tables, and recreation areas where employees can relax in between work.
Other new attempts at changing the work environment include new arrangements of workers. The open office concept has been around for a while now. Instead of hiding in cubicles, workers sit at open desks in a large area. This approach has earned both accolades and derision. It’s unclear whether it is an improvement on more traditional seating arrangements, but it is an example of how offices and companies are willing to experiment.
Traditional Office Lighting
One factor that some offices have started to experiment with is office lighting. At first, it may seem that lighting is not a huge factor in employee satisfaction. Compared to adding a kitchen with unending snacks and drinks, lighting can seem trivial. But many employers are simply unfamiliar with the science behind office lighting.
Most offices were built with fluorescent lighting. It is cheap to install, cheap to run, and has a long useful lifespan before it needs replacement. It would seem that fluorescent light is the all-around best solution to office lighting.
Effects of Fluorescent Light on the Circadian Rhythm
In fact, fluorescent light has some significant drawbacks. It turns out that the human body, on a biological level, is very sensitive to the type of light it experiences. The human body is meant to run on a repeating 24-hour cycle, called the circadian rhythm, that regulates everything from sleep, to digestions, to mood. The way the body calibrates that cycle is closely tied to the changes in sunlight throughout the day. To really work its best, the body needs to feel the shifts in daylight (and dark) over a 24 hours period.
A recent EPA study shows that over 80% of the average American’s day is spent indoors. When you add time in vehicles, over 90% of their day is spent in some sort of enclosure. Americans spend less than 10% of their day outdoors. In fact, in some studies the amount of time test subjects spent outdoor was almost statistically insignificant. So in the absence of exposure to outdoor light, how does the body calibrate its internal clock?
It turns out that the type of light we experience throughout our day has a strong effect on our body’s 24-hour circadian rhythm. When a person is outdoors, the mornings and evenings have dimmer, warmer light. The midday sun, on the other hand, is bright and blue-shifted. It just so happens that typical fluorescent light is also bright and blue-shifted. That means that form the moment an employee steps into the office in the morning until they leave at night, their body thinks it’s midday.
What Happens When You Fool the Circadian Rhythm?
By convincing the body that it is midday all day, systems linked to the proper performance of the circadian rhythm can be thrown off. One major effect of the circadian rhythm is its regulation of sleep-wake cycles. The body is programmed to feel more awake at midday and more tired in the evening as the light dims. By telling the body that it is midday all day, fluorescent lights make it harder for employees to sleep at night. They also place undue stress on the mind and body.
Other systems affected by the circadian rhythm are responsible for our mental state. Neurotransmitter and hormones that affect mood and stress can be strongly influenced by the artificial extension of midday into the morning and evening. Employees may react differently, but the overall effect is the disruption of a healthy psychological state.
How Decorative Light Covers Help
One of the most significant factors in the way light affects the body and mind is which part of the light spectrum the body is receiving. Typically, light that is skewed toward the shorter wavelengths, that is blue light, is only experienced midday. To relax the body, a more full-spectrum light is recommended. Unfortunately, the fluorescent lights in most offices give of a blue-shifted light. That’s where decorative light covers come in.
Decorative light covers go by many names. They are also often called fluorescent light covers or fluorescent light filters. That’s because the decorative light covers act as a filter, reducing the amount of blue light that gets through and radiating a more balanced light across the spectrum. Making the light less blue removes the main stimulus that causes the body to react as if it were midday. Instead, the body is able to more accurately follow its natural 24-hour cycles. That alone makes decorative light covers a boon for employee mood and morale.
Transform Your Office With Decorative Light Covers
In addition to filtering out the blue from the fluorescent light, decorative light covers have other benefits. Whether your office is an endless expanse of beige or you have a somewhat more appealing decor, a little extra beauty never hurt. Many customers report that installing Octo Lights decorative light covers did more than just change the light. The beautiful images and designs can transform a workspace.
One of our most popular designs (or series of designs) is an image of fluffy white clouds in a bright blue sky. When this decorative light cover is installed, it gives the impression of looking up into the sky on a beautiful day. Regardless of the weather outside, you have a personalized skylight that is always a sunny day.
Other popular decorative light covers include images of trees, flowers, and even tropical beaches. Each of these images sets a different mood for your office. The trees and flowers can make you feel like you are outdoors on a beautiful spring day. With images of tropical beaches, white sand, and a turquoise sea you can practically feel the ocean breeze.
Giving your employees that little bit of visual motivation is a great way to change things up and bring the outdoors indoors. Everyone from office workers, to doctors, to teachers report feeling more relaxed under a decorative light cover. So don’t wait. Check out our full collection and place your order today!