Optimizing Workplace Lighting for Health and Productivity – A Comprehensive Guide

Have you ever experienced poor workplace lighting? or ever experienced poor lighting at home? If Yes, apparently you have also faced the consequences of poor lighting. Well, studies have shown then inadequate or insufficient illumination can significantly affect human health and productivity. Poor lighting at the workplace, school, home, or organization can drastically affect the productivity of the workers inside. In this article, we will help you understand everything about poor lighting, its effects on health, productivity, and how to optimize workplace lighting.

Understanding poor lighting

Poor lighting refers to inadequate illumination in a given space. This can be caused by various factors such as insufficient light sources, improper light placement, or outdated fixtures. There are several contributors who contribute to poor lighting. Some of them are mentioned in the below list:

  • Insufficient light
  • Poor distribution of light
  • Improper contrast
  • glare
  • flicker
  • blindspot
  • thermal heating

Each of these factors can have both physical and mental effects on individuals.

What is meant by poor workplace lighting?

Inadequate illumination or lighting at the workplace refers to the term poor workplace lighting. Working in any type of building with poor lighting can be really frustrating. While in the corporate world where your employees likely rely on screens and monitor all-day least expect good lighting at the workplace for better vision. Insufficient light at your workplace can affect the physical and mental health of an employee.

Physical Effects of Poor lighting at workplace

The physical effects of poor lighting are well-known and can impact our daily life. Some of them include:

  • Eye strain eventually leads to deteriorated vision.
  • Headaches
  • Posture issues due to poor posture
  • Low productivity
  • Accidents and injuries ( ie. in industries due to poor lighting)

Let us discuss in detail these major effects of poor lighting in the workplace.

Eye Strain

One of the first signs we will notice of poor workplace lighting is eye strain. In places where there is dim light, our eyes tend to work harder to see. This will cause discomfort to our eyes and put our eyes under strain. Eye strain can also occur in areas where there is too bright light or if the light keeps on flickering. This can become uncomfortable for your employees and workers who spend quality time at your workplace.

Eye strain can also be caused due to continuous staring at blue light from computers or laptop screens. Hence, organizations or businesses should take necessary steps and also personally inquire with employees to make sure the workplace lighting is well functioning.


Similar to eye strain, one of the most common effects of poor lighting in the workplace is headaches. Headaches may also occur on their own as a result of working for long periods without adequate light. For instance, working in a school or museum with poor lighting can make it difficult for your workers to do their jobs. 

Poor Posture

Poor posture is not the direct effect of poor lighting. Suppose your worker suffers from a headache and eventually experiences neck, back, or shoulder pain then this is the result of poor lighting. This will eventually affect the way workers or employees sit and cause poor posture. Poor posture can worsen the condition and lead to more health issues such as spine problems. Businesses or organizations should be aware of this and take the necessary steps.

Low Productivity Levels

Poor lighting can result in mistakes, errors, and low accuracy. Poor workplace lighting will make your employees feel tired eventually reducing the quality of their work and reducing the efficiency of your workplace. All these elements directly impact your business. With bright, proper lighting employees can have a better ability to focus and concentrate with higher productivity levels.

Accidents and Injuries

Business owners should be aware of the most dangerous effects of poor lighting. Poor lighting can lead to accidents and injuries. This is because poor lighting makes it difficult for us to estimate the size, shape, and depth of objects around us. This will increase the probability of accidents to occur such as falling or slipping. Make sure your staircase, lobby, store room, or other places are well-lit.

This means accidents are more likely to occur, such as tripping, falling, or slipping. If your building has a dimly lit stairwell, or if your workers tend to use various materials and tools, this can become an even bigger liability factor for your business. 

Solutions for Poor Workplace Lighting

There are several steps to improve workplace lighting. We will discuss a few of them below:

Add more lamps and Use LED Bulbs

To increase light intensity at the workplace we can add more lamps or bulbs. But increasing the number o appliances will directly affect the electricity bill. Hence we should try opting for energy-efficient LED bulbs and tube lights to save on electricity bills.

Rearrange Desks

Adding extra lighting is not an easy task to do, hence organizations can face challenges to add extra lighting in the workplace. Instead, they should try rearranging desks to places with brighter natural or artificial light sources. When we can’t bring light to us, we must go towards the light. Also, avoid placing the light source directly behind the workers or employees.

Use Lighter Paint Colors

While selecting paints for your workplace, try going for lighter colors. Since light colors maximize reflection and create a brighter atmosphere. Whereas darker colors have low reflection properties.

Enlarge Windows

If possible, enlarge windows to allow more natural light into the workplace. This will enhance both illumination and airflow.

Daylight Shifts

This is especially for factories. They should try utilizing daylight in the factory and try to do maximum operations in the daytime.

Regular checkups and Maintenance

Ensure regular checkups, cleaning, and maintenance of lights and windows.

Importance Of Proper Lighting

Good lighting is of utmost importance in the workplace as it has a profound impact on various aspects of employee well-being and productivity. Adequate and well-designed lighting enhances visibility, reduces eye strain, and doubles productivity. This also promotes a safe working environment by minimizing accidents and errors. Various studies suggest that good lighting at the workplace pays dividends in terms of improved productivity, and a reduction errors. For example, the ILO Manual, Improving working conditions and Productivity in the Garment Industry, indicates that improved lightning in some factories resulted in a 10% increase in productivity and a 30% reduction in errors.

Improvements in workplace lighting don’t necessarily mean that you need more lights which will increase your monthly electricity bills- it is often a case of:

  • Making better use of existing light.
  • Maintenance and regular checkups of existing lights.
  • Making the best use of natural daylight.
  • Proper positioning of existing lights.

Lighting Standards

Below table provided by the International Labour Organization stating the Minimum and Average lighting intensities required for different types of work.

Minimum lighting for different works
Credits: ILO Manual (https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/@americas/@ro-lima/@sro-port_of_spain/documents/presentation/wcms_250198.pdf)


As the curtain falls o our exploration of workplace lighting, one thing is clear: illuminations goes beyond merely dispelling darkness. Yes, the purpose of illuminations is not just to get rid of darkness, but to achieve something more. It influences our mood, concentration, and productivity and even impacts our health. With a deeper understanding of the effects of poor lighting and the array of solutions available, we hold the key to a more productive and healthier workplace.

By investing in proper lighting, and implementing the solutions mentioned in this article, we embark on a journey. This is a journey towards improved employee satisfaction, increased efficiency, and elevated performance. So let’s not just light up our spaces, but also light the path to wellness and success for ourselves and those around us.

Read our recent article on workplace violence, Top 10 Indoor Plants for Work, and know how to build an eco-conscious workplace.


Q: How does poor lighting impact employee health?

A: Poor lighting can lead to eye strain, headaches, and even posture problems. It can also affect mental well-being, causing feelings of sluggishness and stress.

Q: What are the consequences of inadequate lighting at the workplace?

A: Inadequate lighting can result in reduced productivity, increased chances of accidents, and negatively impact the overall mood and satisfaction of employees.

Q: How can I improve lighting in my workspace without major renovations?

A: Simple steps like adding more lamps, rearranging desks, and using lighter paint colors can significantly improve lighting conditions without extensive changes.

Q: What role does natural light play in workplace health and productivity?

A: Natural light is essential for maintaining circadian rhythms, boosting mood, and enhancing overall productivity by creating a healthier work environment.

Q: Can poor lighting affect sleep quality?

A: Yes, poor lighting, especially in the evening, can disrupt the body’s natural circadian rhythm, leading to sleep disturbances and reduced sleep quality.

Q: How can employers create a well-lit workspace for their employees?

A: Employers can hire lighting consultants to assess and recommend solutions, enlarge windows, and ensure proper lighting design to enhance employee well-being and productivity.

Q: Can proper lighting impact employee engagement?

A: Yes, adequate lighting positively influences employee mood, engagement, and job satisfaction, leading to higher levels of involvement and dedication.

Q: What are some cost-effective ways to improve workplace lighting?

A: Using energy-efficient LED bulbs, rearranging furniture to optimize light, and strategically placing reflective surfaces are some budget-friendly solutions.

Q: How can I adjust the lighting to reduce eye strain while working on a computer?

A: Adjusting the contrast and brightness of your computer screen, using task lighting like desk lamps, and positioning your table near a window for natural light can help alleviate eye strain.

Q: Is there a connection between lighting and employee performance?

A: Yes, proper lighting positively impacts employee performance by reducing errors, enhancing focus, and creating a more comfortable and inviting workspace.