Recommended lighting  levels for offices

Light Level or Illuminance, is the total luminous flux reaching  on a surface, per unit area.  Lighting systems in offices  are usually  designed based on the light levels or illuminance required by the tasks performed within each working area .

Office spaces are often over-lit as a result of using outdated lighting fixtures. These older lighting systems were  designed to accommodate paper-based reading tasks , that usually needs  light levels of 500 to 750 lux. Today’s work at the office  primarily involve computer based tasks, and the lighting levels can range from 300 to 500 lux.

We should bear in mind that having the  right lighting requirements onto a task area such as a desk is only one of the elements that has to be considered in the overall lighting project. Indeed,  the whole working environment should be taken into  consideration: the impact of lighting  onto the walls,  and across the space has also to  be considered, so as to create a pleasing and productive working atmosphere. It is recommended to avoid  any sharp  change in light levels within an office space as this will cause the eyes to have to continually adjust, resulting in eye  fatigue, and affecting negatively the productivity of workers.

What is the recommended lighting level for offices?

The below  table represent light level recommendations for office areas.

Areas and activitiesIntensityRecommended Lux 
Accounting officeHigh500 – 750
Office in generalMedium250 – 500
Waiting roomLow150 – 400
Reception deskLow – Medium300
Computer work stationLow – Medium300 – 500
Meeting roomMedium500
Technical drawingHigh750