By Esmond Tsang
In an effort to curb the spread of the global pandemic, COVID-19, the Malaysian government has enforced a nationwide Movement Control Order (MCO) which meant that all employees from both public and private sectors, with the exemption of essential service providers, are to work from home. This means that the majority of the working force nationwide are currently working remotely from the comfort of their own homes. This may sound like a treat but as the MCO grows longer, there are certain boundaries people have to overcome to ensure maximum productivity while working remotely. One of which is related to optimum conducive lighting as an essential component of working productively and efficiently from home.
In offices, lighting often serves as an important factor in keeping employees focused and engaged throughout the day. These establishments are often well lit with bright white lights that ensure employees are awake and productive within the period of office hours. Home lighting rarely mimics the same environment and are often yellow lights or dimmer to create the perfect ambient and to promote comfort. Hence this can be a problem for those working remotely as the comfort provided by being at home with insufficient or unsuitable lighting can cause difficulty in staying focused and keeping productive as well as working efficiently.
In addition to that, there is also the matter that homes are not often lit for long hours as people usually prefer keeping their homes lit with natural light throughout the days and only switch on their artificial light once it gets darker. With everybody working from home, the energy usage per home will increase at a rather alarming rate. Electricity usage will double if not triple within the period of MCO and bills will rise higher in homes despite the Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat provided where Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) will offer a discount to help ease the burden of paying these electric bills.
It goes to show how important it is to choose the right kind of lighting to illuminate homes during this period. The best kind of lighting to use during this period is LED lighting. This type of lighting holds plenty of benefits over compact fluorescent lights (CFL) especially to those working from home during this MCO period. It will help people save cost and increase productivity while still promoting the comfort people crave at home.
Energy And Cost Efficient
LED lighting has a longer lifetime and uses less energy than CFL. The typical lifespan of an LED bulb is 25,000 hours whereas CFL is 8,000 hours. LED can help avoid the hassle and cost of frequently changing light bulbs. This significantly reduces waste and saves money in the long run. LED lights also last longer than normal lights due to the lower energy used so it also cuts down the maintenance cost and hassle for changing light bulbs often.
Two things to consider when choosing between LED and CFL are lumen and wattage. Wattage is the amount of energy used and lumen is the light output from the light source. LED lights use less energy (wattage) to produce the same luminosity output as CFL. This allows consumers to save on electricity bills in which lights account for the majority of.
Being home all the time, consumers have to put into consideration the long term effects to the environment and to their wallets of the stark increase of energy consumption with lights being turned on for most parts of the day compared to usual. Not only does it help save energy and cost during the MCO period, it is also a great long term investment.
Increasing Productivity While Maintaining Comfort
A common misconception is that LED lights produce the cold light effect but many brands nowadays have come out with different intensities of LED lights that can offer a wide range of colour selection and are dimmable. These ranges can be found at an affordable price tag or consumers can go ahead and splurge on ambient lighting that usually offers multiple colour functions in a single bulb.
With a variety of choices ranging from different colour temperatures, consumers can light up every room perfectly. Lighting is known to affect a person’s mood and productivity level. For example, warm white lights can put people in a comfortable mood and make productivity harder to achieve and cool daylights usually increase focus and productivity.
At the same time, safety is proven in LED lights compared to CFL. LED lights emit a significantly low radiation of heat compared to CFL because it converts energy to light instead of heat. When working from home and turning lights on for a long period of time, people are concerned about comfort and productivity as well as safety and LED lights are good on all those ends.
The Right Kind of Light
Choosing the most suitable lighting against the many options available in the market can be overwhelming. However, knowing the right kinds of criteria to choose from can help tremendously in this process.
If you are looking for ease, flexibility and futureproof technology, you should consider using E27 and GU10 type LED bulbs that are easy to swap and inexpensive while promoting extra savings in your monthly electricity as well as maintenance bills. If you are someone who has already invested in LED lighting and are looking for new ways to light your home better, then you can consider switching up to or adding some accessories in the form of lamps and ambient lighting in some spaces instead.
Finally, if you are one of the rare ones who have already mastered the art of essential and complementary home lighting, you can upscale your home and upgrade to a more enhanced lighting technology an invest on smart home ambient lighting that is hyper-connected, can be controlled remotely through phone apps and can be customised and personalised to your liking.
Ambient lighting can create the mood of your homes, improve your daily routines and automate your home lighting system. It can help improve your circadian rhythm by mimicking natural sunlight, essentially by turning on the more natural coloured lights early in the morning and later in the evening versus the cool daylight when you are looking to improve productivity and focus.
Now is the best time to switch to LED lights as its prices have dropped considerably in the past decade due to its high demand and adoption.
Esmond Tsang is Commercial Leader for Consumer Products of Signify Malaysia.