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Workforce productivity

We've all worked in settings somewhere between a dungeon and dentist chair on the uncomfortable scale, so we know how this impacts our capacity to focus and overall output per unit of time.  The importance of employee comfort cannot be overstated as the cost of people is generally two orders of magnitude higher than utility costs, and typically one of the largest SG&A line items.  Among several variables that contribute to employee comfort is the quality of the visual environment as created by natural and electric light.

Properly harnessed natural light is optimal for cognitive function because it matches normal circadian rhythm.  The next best option is well-designed electric light; many spaces employ a combination of the two.  For both kinds of light, however, getting the amount, quality, and distribution right is of the utmost importance.  For example, battling even mild glare strains the eyes and can induce headaches.  Low color temperatures (CCT) trick the body into feeling like it's time for bed.  Neither are ideal conditions in which to work for any extended period of time.

Studies suggest productivity can be swayed up to 25% by lighting design; however, property-specific quantitative assessments for investment analysis are difficult to craft with any scientific backbone.  Nonetheless, the forceful point remains.  Affording employees a comfortable working environment puts them in position to realize increases in productivity, and even a 1% uptick can outweigh LED energy and maintenance savings combined.

While LED lighting alone does not guarantee proper design, it gives the designer the best tools with which to optimize a working environment.  Ultimately, employees should be battling business problems, not their workplace.   

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