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How Office Lighting Can Boost Your Productivity

Make the best of the light you have.
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Photographer: Getty Images

Many employees take pride in personalizing their workspace. But while it’s not uncommon to see desks littered with action figures or cubicle walls cluttered with pictures, few people give much thought to the light around them. The intensity and type of light we live with during the workday can have a major impact on our health, happiness, and productivity. Even if you have little choice but to deal with the overhead fluorescents in a windowless office, there are still several steps you can take to make the light work for you.

When it comes to the way our brains respond to light, not all colors are created equal. Our eyes are populated with a special set of cells—photosensitive retinal ganglion cells, to be precise—that detect the presence of short-wavelength blue hues. These cells use this information to tell our bodies and brains that the sun is out, suppressing the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin.