Lighting for the Generations: Bright Light; Right Light

Presented by: Jessica Griesemer, Amanda Sloup, and Vibhavari Jani

With multiple generations working together within the work place today, it is important to understand the different lighting needs of each of the individual occupants. Smith, (2000), notes that "it is generally accepted that poor lighting means that the human visual system will not operate at its optimum efficiency. There will be associated ramifications if an individual is subjected to poor lighting conditions." (p. 151). According to McShane, (1997), “finding the right balance between task and ambient lighting will avoid sharp contrasts that force the eye to have to focus and re-focus.” (p. 24). The authors wanted to understand how the amount of the ambient and task lighting can help or strain the eyes of different age groups within a work environment. The authors adapted quantitative research method and surveyed different generations of workers within the open office work environment to determine which types of lighting they find comfortable to efficiently do their work. The authors took average light readings from each work space and then surveyed the workers within those cubicles on their generation description, what use of task lighting do they utilize and issues such as headaches due to glare. The authors compared the results of their study and combined them with literature reviews and found evidence showing that Baby Boomers need higher levels of task lighting to perform at a more efficient level, whereas the Generation X and Y workers were content with a lower output of ambient and task lighting within the workspace. In this paper the authors will discuss their research methods, data collection process and findings of their experiments and conclude that appropriate light levels will maximize the efficiency of workers in the open office setting.


  • McShane, T. (1997). Practical lighting for the workplace. Managing Office Technology, 42(2), 24-27. Retrieved from
  • Smith, N. A. (2000). Lighting for health and safety. Retrieved from; Materials specified: Knovel