Is your office lighting affecting productivity?

A study has found that poorly lit workplaces can reduce employees’ ability to learn

Is your office lighting affecting productivity?

Employers should pay attention to how well-lit their workplaces are, because dim rooms reduce people’s ability to remember and learn, according to a new study.

“In other words, dim lights produce dimwits,” said Joel Soler, who led a research team from the Michigan State University and author of the study that was published in the journal Hippocampus.

Modern office workers, often exposed to poor lighting, are estimated to spend 90% of their time indoors.

Soler’s team exposed rats to either bright or dim light, Daily Mail UK reported. Four weeks of exposure to the latter led to diminished learning and memory performance, due to reductions in brain-derived neurotrophic factor, a chemical that maintains healthy brain connections.

These allow neurons to “talk to one another”.

Co-author Tony Nunez said the dim light mimicked the cloudy days of winter or typical indoor lighting.

Researchers found that rodents exposed to dim light lost about 30 per cent of capacity in their hippocampus, while those exposed to bright light showed significant improvement on the spatial task.

Further, the brain capacity and performance of those exposed to dim light recovered after they were given four weeks of bright light.

The study is the first to show changes in environmental light leads to structural changes in the brain.

Related stories:
Creating the right space for employee collaboration
The downside of an open-plan office

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