The Office: A Guide on Lighting For The Modern Workplace
The Topanga Wall Mounted Light Fixture in Galvanized by Steel Lighting Co.

Surely there’s a better way to light offices than those awful fluorescent panels that give at least one sales team member a headache? 

Lighting in offices has changed at a shockingly slow rate. Somehow, despite the cliche of modern businesses having crazy ideas like “no desks” and a slide to get in and out of the building, for some reason, we’ve stuck with the same lighting setup for what seems like decades. 

Does anyone even like those things? 

We didn’t think so. 

Well, thankfully, there’s an increasingly popular way to get your lighting done in the office of the future. Ironically, it’s with a style lighting often described as “old” or “vintage” – steel barn-style lights. 

Safety Principles

When considering their lighting setup, the most crucial factor for any business is safety -both for customers and employees. In an office environment, this can be massive, even if the tasks being completed are relatively mundane. 

The easiest way to ensure a level of safety is to have as much visual fidelity as possible, which is achieved by having light sources that can closely resemble the daylight. For all of their faults, fluorescent light panels are one of the best options for achieving this. 

As well as that, achieving a near-daylight style of lighting is fantastic for maintaining a level of productivity for employees, primarily if your office operates during night hours. Daylight, and close imitations, stimulates the body and creates the illusion that it’s still daytime, allowing for greater productivity at all hours of the day. 

Out With The Old

The Manhattan Ceiling Mounted Light Fixtures in Black by Steel Lighting Co.

If you do some basic math, you’ll find out pretty quickly that people often spend a solid chunk of their lives at work. Eight hours a day, five days a week a year for roughly 48 weeks of the year, works out to a lot of time under fluorescent lights. 

Sure, there’s a good reason why fluorescent panels are used so often. They’re easy to maintain, last for a pretty long while, and provide an even amount of color-neutral light, making it not seem so bad in the office. 

The problem with fluorescent lights is they’re often just plain bad lighting design. The rectangular panels we’re all well acquainted with are the kind of lighting design that becomes just boring after a brief period. While safe and assured in approach, flat lighting often creates a dull and lifeless visual experience at the same time. 

While the bright light is initially stimulating for the human eye, the lack of visual variety can become a problem and can even lead to the reverse effect if left unchanged. That can be disastrous for companies that rely on a steady stream of employee productivity and can create a more challenging job for managers to keep theory teams motivated.

Universal Principles

For a good lighting design that doesn’t create a bland working environment; we suggest following a few fundamental principles: 

  • Avoid Glare: If you’re looking at a computer screen all day, then the glare from a light source is going to be your worst enemy. The most common source of this will come from daylight and open windows, but lighting fixtures are equally capable. 
  • Wattage: Keeping track of your wattage will be helpful for a whole range of reasons and will be especially useful when choosing the best fixture for the workplace. 
  • No Shadows: Shadows are annoying in the work palace and can provide spots that could be unsafe and unpleasant for employees. 

Ceiling Solutions

The easiest way to replace your ceiling light setup is to do away with the panels entirely and put in some new ceiling fixtures. 

For steel barn lights, this is a smart option, and it’s easy to see why. Modern office spaces nowadays often employ a “light-industrial” aesthetic, with bare brick walls and high ceilings being particularly in vogue. 

This makes things pretty easy for farmhouse-style lights, which are designed to perfectly accommodate those conditions and provide a tremendous amount of light while following the guidelines written above. 

For example, our Manhattan ceiling light is the ultimate choice for business owners looking to take advantage of any high ceiling “loft-style” space, with the lights themselves being designed to operate best from a height of 15 feet. This helps avoid any dangerous glare while also casting a wide enough cone of light to eliminate shadows for employees below. 

Wall-Mounted Wonders
The Topanga Wall Mounted Light Fixture in Galvanized by Steel Lighting Co.

Ok, so not everyone has the benefit of having their office located in a modern industrial building. That’s ok; we have you guys covered as well. 

In a new and ever-evolving age of office work styles and behaviors, sometimes the most straightforward solution is the best. “Hotdesking,” or the desire for workplaces to have employees share desks, with no single person having their own permanent desk, is becoming increasingly popular in modern offices. 

Something that’s funny about hotdesking is that it’s pretty incompatible with the design of conventional ceiling light design, with the bland, flat lighting providing little space to actually justify the variety and focus that hotdesking is implied to usher. 

Task orientated lighting from a wall-mounted fixture, on the other hand, is an entirely different story. Wall-mounted fixtures are perfect for creating a hotdesking environment where the focus can be brought to the forefront, particularly when orientated around zones that allow employees to congregate naturally. 

For example, the Topanga light is an ideal fixture for an office space looking to create a zonal style of office orientation, with the light finding the perfect balance between being bright enough to cover a whole area for task heavy work while also being small enough in profile to have multiple lights mounted within a space without creating visual clutter. 

If you need help making the right choice of lighting for your home or business, then contact our friendly team at Steel Lighting Co.,  our friendly team of experts would be more than happy to give some advice and recommendations on what kind of steel barn light can best suit your home or business needs.


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