How To Be Happier At Work
We’ve known for a long time that lack of healthy light can influence depression. In fact, some of us even own (or use) one of the bright light boxes therapists may recommend to feel happier as a remedy for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) — a disorder that causes some people to experience heavy depression during the winter months due to limited access to the sun.
Light is extra important in the entrepreneurial part of my world. The company I lead, Hansen Lighting, was founded more than 50 years ago. In the years since, we’ve made it our mission to spread the “light,” so to speak, on the Danish concept of “hygge,”—the feeling of happiness and comfort from the warm glow of a candle, for example. It’s even the contentment we feel when cuddling up with a book and a cup of tea, or enjoying a wonderful meal with good friends.
Interestingly, despite their dreary climate, science ranks Danish citizens as the happiest in the world, with their focus on hygge surely playing a role.
In the US, Hansen Lighting uses the concept of hygge to advance the science principles of lighting. We’re spreading the word about the ways healthy light improves wellness and safety, makes you happier, reduces eye strain, improves visibility, and enhances our sensory experiences. Not surprisingly, healthier light makes all of our living paces (schools, office buildings, community centers, and homes) more welcoming and productive, as well.
A Study On Healthy Lighting
Interestingly, we recently conducted a study to determine the impact of healthy lighting on children. Working with the BYU statistics department as consultants on the study design to assure statistical relevance, Hansen Lighting conducted trials with children ages four to five. In each case, children performed the tasks with pre-existing lighting and then in healthier lighting conditions.
The results were remarkable. Attention span increased by an average of 32 percent. Resilience improved by 83 percent. Group engagement increased by 33 percent. And group cooperation showed the biggest increase of all—the children were 10x more cooperative when the lighting was considered healthy.
Knowing this, I would hope that every one of us is going to be taking a second look at the lighting we currently use in our homes (as well as finding out what we can do to improve the lights in our schools, office buildings, etc.) Imagine the influence on our children’s ability to succeed in society if our lighting were healthier and happier? The reduced requirement for drugs to address attention span and hyperactivity? (You can find a copy of the full results here).
Healthy Lighting Affects The Workplace, Too
Of course, I imagine every entrepreneur is thinking about the lighting in our workplaces as well. Imagine the impact we could have on productivity, team and individual engagement as well as cooperation and even the health of our individual employees?
Take a close look at the way your workplace lighting may be influencing your business. While most of us have eliminated the fluorescent lights that formerly filled our offices, there is much more we can do to protect our health, our productivity, and even our environment with a higher level of attention to lighting design, location, and even the color and spectrum of the lighting we use.
I’d like to encourage every leader and every individual to improve our lives and our businesses through healthier light at work and at home. It would be a win for us all and it might even make you happier.