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How Bright Should Your Office Bulbs Be?

office lighting, lights hanging down from ceiling over workplace

Offices aren’t always comfortable. Everything from the wrong angle of your monitor to poor alignment between your seat, desk, and keyboard can lead to a buildup of chronic pain and discomfort. This does more than reduce employee productivity; it hurts overall health. While companies have been making popular adjustments by investing in more ergonomic chairs, accumulating standing desks, and increasing access to filtered water, office lighting has been left a bit by the wayside. Here are some changes your office should make and why should you make them:

Get bulbs with a daylight temperature.

Temperature is the quality that makes a ‘white’ light bulb look like any color from a fuzzy yellow to a white-ish blue. Think of a candle or fireplace: the cool flames have the oranges and yellows we typically associate with warmth, but the inner core of the flame has a blue tinge that warns us that it’s even hotter. Daylight bulbs are between 5000 and 7000K (Kelvin), and their temperature color falls between white and white-blue. The reason why daylight light bulbs are preferable is in the name: people respond well to daylight. If your office has limited sunlight exposure, as most do, switching out the light bulbs to create artificial sunlight can help boost employees’ alertness and give their eyes a break from the strain.

Does light really have an impact on peoples’ moods and minds?

If you’ve ever been in a meeting in a dim room, you know the answer to that question based on how many people stopped paying cursory attention and started nodding off. But bright light does more than just stop people from closing their eyes. Replicating daylight with the right bulbs can:

  • impact circadian rhythm. Bright, daylight bulbs early in the morning can make our bodies feel like it really is time to wake up, even with late winter mornings outside.
  • help employees stay alert and productive. Daylight is a trigger to our systems that it’s time to pay attention and think critically. It also makes details more visible and offsets the glare from screens so factors like eye strain and headaches don’t occur.


For more lighting and office design tips, go to Tangram.

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