The role of the commercial office has been permanently altered by the pandemic. Research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) predicts the proportion of people regularly working from home will increase to 37% compared to 18% before the pandemic.
Working from home part of the time, or hybrid working, will become “the norm” for many companies, according to global workspace provider IWG, as reported by the BBC. The shift to hybrid working sees employees gain a balance of remote and office working, with more flexibility around when and where they work.
Commercial office lighting for the future
New offices need to be equipped for flexible working and designed around the needs of those who use them. Moving away from 9 – 5 desk-based working, offices are likely to become more open plan spaces, where employees hot desk and spend time collaborating. But what does this mean for office lighting?
Office lighting ideas for hybrid workspaces:
Lighting that adapts to daily rhythms
Central to many contemporary office lighting schemes is circadian lighting, which mirrors the natural patterns of the day. Lighting becomes cooler and brighter during periods of productivity, then softer and warmer around breaks. These patterns have been shown to reduce stress and improve the overall happiness of employees.
Flooding offices with bright light every hour of the day is not conducive to a comfortable working environment and designs need to move away from this. Our surroundings impact our wellbeing, and businesses should consider this carefully as they bring employees back to commercial office buildings with poor natural light.
Image from Deloitte offices
The shift to hybrid working means more collaboration in the office. Working at home provides time for independent work, and days in the office are for meetings and sharing ideas. Commercial office lighting schemes need to consider and plan for these different meeting zones, and how employees might use them.
Desk lighting for independent work
When people use a desk infrequently, or hot desk around an open plan office, there needs to be opportunity to switch on and feel connected to a workstation. Pendant lighting and desk lamps give employees control over how much light they use for tasks and help people focus on their work, undisturbed by the surroundings.
Warm lighting for relaxation areas
Creating comfortable areas for employees to take a break and catch up with one another is part of a happy and productive workplace. Reducing the amount of bright light we are exposed to around lunch and the end of the day helps to reduce stress and tiredness. Using warm lighting, or ‘yellow’ light, in communal break areas helps promote relaxation and distinguishes these spaces from the rest of the office.
Image from Deloitte offices
Adaptable lighting for meeting spaces
Meetings come in many forms and offices need to cater to this. The option for bright lighting, warm lighting, and focused spotlights provides an adaptable balance. Commercial office lighting schemes, particularly in large or shared office buildings, need to give employees choice and control over how their meeting room is lit.
However subtly, lighting does affect our mood, energy levels, and even emotions. The more conscious we are about the way our workplaces are lit, the more we understand how to create an environment where employees feel happy and productive at work. Going back to the office more regularly will be a big change for many people. Making sure offices are comfortable and supportive places to work is one way employers can help.
We hope you enjoyed reading our thoughts on what’s next for commercial office lighting. If you have a question or request for our team, get in touch with us on 0113 263 9039 or firstname.lastname@example.org.