A highly informative article by Janelle Penny at buildings.com reveals the benefits of allowing individuals to control their own lighting in open plan offices. An in-depth study by the GSA compared their standard lighting setup vs. an arrangement that allowed employees to control the local lighting at their workstation. The first surprise was that energy usage goes down (sometimes way down) when you let employees have more control. Computer users are particularly prone to dimming their lights to reduce screen glare and avoid eye fatigue.
Even better, the percentage of employees who were satisfied with their lighting was increased by a substantial amount. Those who said the overall lighting at their workstation was comfortable rose from 55% to 70%. Those who complained that their work surface was unevenly lit dropped from 50% to 25%.
We’d love to have the GSA test out our privacy panels and see how employees like having control over their noise exposure and visual privacy as well. We’re betting the results would be pretty impressive.