Many employees in the UK are on the brink of another change in the home working routines that were thrust upon them during the pandemic in 2020 and 2021. A return to a company’s workspace is met with anticipation by some employees but in some cases there is apprehension. Companies, now more than ever, need to ensure optimal levels of comfort for employees – to help their general well-being, mental health, and productivity.
Light and sound levels play a key role in ensuring we create comfortable and productive workspaces for our valuable teams.
We also design and manufacture custom-made and bespoke acoustic solutions.
How light affects us
The level of light in a workplace is key in creating productive and healthy environments. Ergonomic lighting conditions improve wellbeing, motivation, effectiveness, performance, and satisfaction.
Productivity is known to increase in general when working in daylight and overall visual performance improves with better illumination as eye strain and headaches are reduced. Fewer days taken off work by employees due to these eye health issues leads to greater productivity in a company.
The ideal combination for comfortable office and working light levels is a combination of daylight, indirect light and task centric lighting. Different tasks require different levels of illumination, and the age of the inhabitants plays a role in the creation of comfortable and effective light levels. Illuminance (measured in Lux) determines how much light falls in an area. Older people (45 years plus) and the visually impaired need a Lux of 750 -1500 depending on the tasks required of their roles, whilst younger employees can work effectively at a Lux of 500.
The light colour and temperature also play a part in visual comfort – measured in Kelvin. Natural light varies throughout the day with blueish light in the early morning and more reddish in the evening. Warm, natural white and daylight bulbs and LED’s can help replicate this in areas of low natural day light. As a general guide daylight white light of 6,000 Kelvin would be too bright for most workspaces and 4,000 Kelvin in considered neutral and a productive light level.
The ideal positioning of any desk area is still near daylight so the battle for the desk with a view is still real in 2021!
In shared spaces and open plan offices where responsibility for maintaining lights is not always clear or in any space with high ceilings with lights that are hard to access, it’s important to keep lights clean and to replace flickering bulbs. Reduced light levels and flickering can lead to fatigue, eye problems, and headaches in susceptible inhabitants. Also, the use of long-life LED’s is ideal in these spaces as they require infrequent replacement and upkeep.
How sound affects us
Disruptive noise is one of the leading causes of decreased productivity and staff absenteeism in the UK. Noise can affect a person’s cardiovascular system, leading to hypertension, fatigue, headaches, anxiety, and anger. Creating balanced acoustic environments is therefore an essential consideration in the UK as people begin their return to their places of work.
Communication and the power of the human voice is essential in our world, but background noise and unexpected noise is intrusive, and it impacts the well-being and therefore the productivity in a workspace. A peaceful environment is a basic human need and without it the quality of our interactions is impacted at work. Managing noise levels and creating balanced room acoustics can be achieved by using different acoustic treatments that deaden sound and prevent reverberation. Like lighting solutions, a layered approach is optimal with the use of wall panels or tiles, desk dividers and ceiling acoustic treatments.
As modern design and architecture often favours the visual impact and elegance of large expanses of smooth, hard surfaces like concrete, the need for ways to reduce sound reverberation grows. These hard surfaces enable sound to spread and targeted solutions are needed to prevent excessive reverberation.
A recent study from the University of Berkely found that:
- 40% said noise affects their ability to concentrate.
- 64% are dissatisfied when listening to others’ phone calls.
- 76% found the fact that they can be overheard disturbing.
Rail from ezoBord – a combined solution for optimal light and sound
At ezoBord we have created Rail – a ceiling treatment that illuminates at an optimal lighting level whilst reducing reverberation and high noise levels.
The Rail system combines elegantly designed acoustic sections to prevent noise reverberation with optimal LED lighting available in a range of light colour temperature.
Rail is available in an array of geometric designs, colours and finishes to adapt to a space’s look or to create a design feature that acts as a visual anchor.
Rail is a cost-effective solution to issues with lighting and acoustics that allows designers to optimise valuable space. Each acoustic section is made from recycled polyester fibre made from at least 50% recycled plastic water bottles.
More information and to download technical specification for Rail- button and link to UK landing page.
Treat the whole space, improves well being and comprehension. Modulates certain wavelengths of sound so speech is clearer.
Cost to the environment, 40% sound reductions, increased productivity amongst employees. Optimal workspaces. Considered within the design aesthetic. Use of 50% recycled materials.
ezoBord UK Limited
Unit 20 Westwood Business Park Margate, Kent CT9 4JJ
Sales: Nigel Webster
Operations: Andy Knight