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When it comes to office lighting, think beyond the initial price tag

Experts agree: investing in more advanced office lighting systems can mean greater overall savings and proven workforce benefits. 

Employee complaints about the office environment are about as commonplace as water cooler gossip — and harsh lighting is among the top environmental reasons for negative employee chatter.

Given that lighting and well-being are scientifically linked, more and more companies are considering the implications their lighting system will have on morale and productivity when designing an office space.

This long-term approach to purchasing office lighting can also help prevent issues for contractors and facility managers, who often find that “piece-purchasing” (combining different products from different manufacturers) causes compliance headaches, maintenance woes and significant cost issues.

Design and business experts agree that a little upfront planning goes a long way toward creating a lighting system that enhances both efficiency and the office environment. And today, lighting manufacturers offer a greater selection of office lighting solutions than ever before, ensuring answers for any space, budget or application. 

Office lighting for productivity and well-being

Study after study has shown that the wrong lighting (e.g., outdated “overhead fluorescent lighting”) can put a damper on employee productivity and mood. Psychologists agree that too much artificial light reduces cortisol levels, making it harder to manage daily stress. Natural sunlight, on the other hand, can help keep employees more alert and productive.

2014 study by the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine linked natural office lighting and employee well-being. 

“We suggest that architectural design of office environments should place more emphasis on sufficient daylight exposure of the workers in order to promote office workers' health and well-being,” the study concluded.

Business efficiency expert Andrew Jensen agrees. “Natural lighting renovations have been shown to result in happier workers, less absenteeism, and fewer illnesses, and, because better lighting encourages satisfaction among workers, it also results in increased productivity.” 

Good office lighting should supplement natural light, not overpower it. Control-integrated LED fixtures provide the perfect solution, because they adjust automatically to daylight levels and are naturally easier on the eyes than fluorescent lighting.

Besides making the most of a space’s natural light, integrated control fixtures have the added benefit of personalization. Light levels can be easily customized for every space and preference, even down to the individual level, as more and more employers equip their employees with personal remote controls. 

LED lighting: a smarter approach for long-term savings

Control-integrated LED fixtures not only help enhance the office environment by maximizing its natural light. They are actually less costly over time.

While it may seem cost-effective to piece together an office lighting plan using the least expensive components, this approach could cost you in the long run. Contractors and designers who opt for the piecemeal approach (purchasing different components from different manufacturers) could actually end up spending more in labor and cost of ownership.

Smarter office lighting solutions, equipped with out-of-the-box code compliance, install easier and with less specialized labor. This helps reduce labor costs by up to 75 percent and prevent compliance hiccups. Contractors often find they can wrap a project more quickly, which spares them opportunity costs and ultimately boosts their bottom line.

Smart office lighting choices for every situation

Each space has unique needs, from layout and lighting applications to budget and desired level of control.

Eaton offers a spectrum of office lighting solutions, from affordable retrofit kits that allow facilities to quickly upgrade to LED, to internet-connected lighting systems that go beyond lighting to provide a platform for data collection and full building optimization.

And, these upgrades won’t drag down your office’s aesthetics. From troffers to strips, you can choose from a wide variety of sleek fixtures and mounting options. For example, Eaton’s WaveStream® LED technology ensures smooth, uniform color and light distribution; in other words, harsh, unflattering LED lights are a thing of the past.

The bottom line?

“Although the initial cost of a lighting renovation could seem daunting, the gains due to energy savings and - more importantly - productivity gains, more than make up for the cost of the investment,” Jensen said.

Ready to rethink your approach to office lighting and amplify your ROI? Contact your local Eaton lighting agency or sales representative for expert guidance and support.