Lumie Launches New Light Therapy Campaign for the Workplace
Light therapy at work can boost productivity and reduce winter absenteeism says Cambridge-based light therapy specialist Lumie. The company launches a new light therapy campaign for the workplace today as people come back from holiday to face the return to school and normal routine. To support the campaign, Lumie is releasing a new publication ‘Light for workplace well-being’ that explains in detail how light therapy can improve work performance.
Absenteeism soars during winter months, placing a huge financial burden and logistical strain on productivity at work. According to The Office for National Statistics’ 2014 report on work absenteeism1, while the most common reason given for sickness absence in 2013, accounting for 30%, was minor illnesses such as cough and colds, mental health problems such as stress, depression and anxiety contributed to a significant number of days of work lost in 2013 at 15.2 million days or about 12% of the total. Poor mental health inevitably also has a negative impact on performance, motivation and relationships. Not surprisingly both levels of absenteeism and symptoms of SAD (depression, lack of energy, lethargy, weight gain) are at their worst during January and February when the days are at their shortest and the effects of light deprivation have accumulated.
Light therapy is a powerful antidote; research2 shows that we really need bright light of about 2,000 lux to keep our body clock on track which in turn keeps winter blues symptoms at bay, but even the brightest offices only measure around 500 lux. And while spending at least 45 minutes a day outside would be the best solution, in reality the British weather and work commitments mean this is not usually possible. Exposure to a lightbox or bright light (2,000-10,000lux) for 15 - 90 minutes a day provides a realistic alternative, quickly decreasing sleepiness, restoring vitality and boosting mental alertness, energy levels and productivity. It is also a potent and effective treatment for SAD and winter blues. Using bright light from September onwards can delay the onset of SAD/winter blue symptoms and will also mitigate their effect.
Lumie Brightspark (RRP £115) and Lumie Desklamp (RRP £120) are ideal ways to recharge your batteries at work. Lumie Brightspark looks good on your desk with its slim design and aluminium finish. It requires 45-90 minutes’ exposure for an effective boost and, as the exposure is cumulative, it does not have to be completed in one sitting. Lumie Desklamp mimics a classic touch control study light but carries 96 blue-enriched white LEDS to deliver an energy top up in just 30 minutes. Both deliver 10,000lux at 20 cms and are certified as Class IIa Medical Devices under the Medical Device Directive (93/42/EEC). This means the clinical efficacy and safety have been successfully established and the products pass all the relevant European safety standards.
Adding several Lumie bright lights to an existing seating area or even the staff restaurant provides a bright environment where employees can take 15 minutes to recharge their batteries. Last winter Lumie provided lights for a light café run by Leeds University. It created an uplifting space where students could study or relax in front of a Lumie light.
“Light can acutely boost your mood; we know sitting in a dark environment makes it harder to get going whereas if you’re in a brightly lit environment there’s enough light to enter the eye and stimulate the brain resulting in an increase in mood and alertness. Plus light is a natural tool and very easy to use. You might even be able to pre-empt the onset of SAD/winter blue symptoms by using light therapy from the end of the summer onwards.” Dr Vikki Revell, Circadian clock expert, University of Surrey
“While employers are all too familiar with the problems of absenteeism and reduced productivity in the winter months, we still have a way to go in establishing light therapy as a simple, inexpensive yet highly effective solution. Lumie is delighted to be launching this ‘Light for workplace well-being’ campaign to encourage the adoption of bright lights at work this coming winter.” Jonathan Cridland, CEO, Lumie
Images of Lumie Brightspark and Lumie Desklamp are available on request.
1. Office for National Statistics. Full Report: Sickness Absence in the Labour Market, February 2014.
2. The efficacy of light therapy in the treatment of mood disorders: a review and meta-analysis of the evidence. Psychiatr Pol. 2004 Nov-Dec;38(6):1105-14. Read the full abstract
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