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02/12/18 How Does Color Temperature Affect Mood, Motivation and Productivity?

Article - February, 12 2018 By

Dimmable 12 LED Strip Light - 4.2 Watt Light Output - 9-32V DC - Low Profile Aluminum Housing

How Does Color Temperature Affect Mood, Motivation and Productivity?

Advancements in commercial lighting research have led to ground-breaking conclusions about the way certain characteristics of light beams affect mood and productivity in the workplace. Such findings can help businesses improve output and ensure employees are provided a conducive environment to complete demanding tasks.

From a long-term perspective, robust lighting may also contribute to one’s mental and physical health. Read on to understand how color temperature affects motivation and productivity.

Color Temperature Settings

Color temperature is defined as a rating on a scale used to determine the color characteristics of light beams via degrees of Kelvin. Each rating is represented by a number that applies to the light source’s beam. At the low end of the scale, one will find infrared light and illuminative characteristics that closely resembles embers (800K). This range, which also includes candle light at 1,800K, is considered to be warm. As one moves up the scale, light beams are characterized as cool.

Incandescent lights, at 2,800K, and halogen lamps, at 3,200K, represent yellowish color temperature ratings. Cool white and transitioning to bluish light are represented in the range of 4,300K to 5,600K. Clear, bluish white light comes with a color temperature rating of 6,500K to 8,000K. Lastly, at the end of the scale, sky light and ultraviolet light can be found at a range between 12,000K all the way up to 20,000K. It’s important to note that color temperature does not take light intensity and power into consideration.

Warm = Comfort

Generally speaking, the lower end of the color temperature scale helps promote comfort and relaxation. This type of lighting is suitable for bedrooms, public sidewalks and low-activity locations. Low color temperature illumination contains minimal amounts of bluish tones, which is responsible for keeping the mind alert. Because of this, the human body is able to produce, release and regulate melatonin levels effectively. This salient hormone is responsible for inducing sleep in individuals. Hence, it would not be logical for daytime employees to work in a building with low color temperature illumination, as this would make them feel tired, less productive and depressed (over time).

Furthermore, when handling dangerous tools and equipment, ideally workers should utilize luminaries with high color temperature ratings for clarity and safety.

Cool = Alert

Mid-to-high color temperature illumination has the opposite effect on employees. This type of lighting is perfect for commercial offices, industrial facilities, processing plants and hazardous areas. The main reason for this is the color temperature’s effects on melatonin production. Individuals exposed to this range produce less of the hormone, resulting in mindfulness and increased productivity. This is why scientists advise people to switch to a red backlight when using smartphones at night, as low levels of melatonin can make individuals feel restless and awake. Cool lighting systems are suitable for both daytime and nighttime operations. For the latter, it can help workers stay awake and alert, when performing dangerous tasks during after-hours.

Striking a Balance

Too much of both can have negative effects on a person’s mood and productivity levels. Persistent levels of low color temperature lighting can ultimately make one feel fatigued and dull throughout the work week. On the other hand, continuous exposure to high color temperature lighting could make workers stressed and anxious, resulting in human-related errors and unhealthy habits.

Because it’s difficult to rely on a “one size fits all” color temperature setting for the entire facility, it is recommended for businesses to utilize a moderately high color temperature lighting system for general illumination inside the building, while supplementing with either lower or higher color temperature-rated lamps – depending on the work being conducted.

Supplementary lighting can take the form of desk lamps, LED strip lights and etc. Additionally, some rooms with low or intermittent activity should be illuminated with low color temperature lighting when they are not occupied. Such rooms include conference rooms, lobbies, bathrooms and hallways.

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