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Your Lighting Is Killing You!

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Well, it’s not literally killing you, but have you ever walked into a poorly lit workspace? Maybe you haven’t even noticed why, but your mood changes immediately. You feel sleepy all of the sudden, and you lose your productivity vibe. The energy in the room is gone.

Here’s an example of such a situation:

bad lighting

If this is your space, I’m sorry. (But I’m really not.) Sure, maybe the picture isn’t doing the scene justice, but from the look of things, you need some internal lighting, stat. You need to reduce the contrast of light from the windows as it dissipates into the space. Readers are probably getting tired simply looking at the picture.

What’s more, high contrast between a user’s screen and the ambient light in the room (i.e. bright screen, dim ambient light) is strenuous on their eyes, which will affect their productivity and make it easier to quit working earlier.

In my opinion, it’s no big deal if the contrast situation is reversed. If it’s dark and stormy outside, I wouldn’t advocate for turning the lights off, unless you want to get moody.

Here’s an example of great lighting:


Turns out this is an Industrious location (I believe in St. Louis). The low contrast between exterior natural light and internal artificial light helps make the space look more energetic, which makes us feel more energetic.

Aside from how lighting makes us feel and work, it is one of the first notable things prospects experience when taking a tour.

While working with a space in San Francisco, my colleagues were always getting exasperated because I would turn the lounge lights on during bright days. The lounge had one small window near it, so there was some natural light coming in. My coworkers would complain, “It’s bright outside, why do you have the light on?” I would adamantly retort, “when the lights are off, space looks like shit and I have a tour coming.”

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Your prospects do not give a damn about the environment when it comes to making their workspace decisions (even with you Impact Hub folks) and they don’t even know it. The feeling they get when they walk in the door is on a hair trigger. Prospects don’t realize they are subconsciously knocking off points from you because of poor lighting contrast. Sure, to some it may look as if you’re just trying to save the planet, but to most it just looks like you’re running an 18th century prison.

So please, please install good lighting and keep the lights on. It makes you look more presentable and makes people feel more productive. Instead of getting tired and wishing they weren’t cooped up in the dungeon you’re holding them in, they’ll stay longer and maybe invite their friends.

Lastly, for the love of god stop buying the low-lumen overhead Ikea pendants (yes, I’m talking to you “ikea-is-the-answer-to-everything” man). It’s so obvious you bought them for the price or design without any regard to functionality. 60 watts will do almost nothing for your ambient lighting during the day. Buy something else, otherwise you might as use a candle.


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