If your office is improperly lit, chances are you’re not working as productively as you could be. Office lighting and temperature can affect our brains, and even if you work in a large office beyond your control, there are things you can do to help make your cubicle more comfortable.
First, understand that natural light trumps artificial or dim light – always. Too much artificial or dim light makes us less alert by the evening, and poor or artificial lighting can actually make us feel more stressed, thanks to the cortisol drops when we are in the environment too long.
Second, too low or high of office temperatures can cause you to make more mistakes than if you were working in a room with optimal temperature. Warmer is generally better than colder for brain function, so try to stay above 72 degrees C, but anything warmer than 77 degrees C will also cause a drop in productivity.
If you can’t control the temperature or light in your cubicle since it’s a general office manager’s job and everyone who is close to or far away from the vents is constantly complaining, there are still a few things you can do.
- Get as much natural sun as possible before and after work – take your morning cup of coffee on the balcony or porch, eat lunch outside if possible,and consider a walk before dinner. The extra hours in natural daylight can help stabilize your body’s cortisol levels.
- Use a small portable heater in your office in the winter and a fan in the summer.
- Wear layers. You can pile on or take off as needed.
- Use lensed-indirect light instead of direct lighting for an almost daylight-like office lighting environment, or switch out bulbs for full spectrum bulbs or lamps that mimic natural daylight.
You can help stabilize your own working area even if it is small and localized, and manage your own temperature and lighting needs as much as possible. Don’t let your cubicle become the gloomy place you go to shiver or sweat, and minimize eyestrain and cortisol fluctuations by making changes at home as well.