Human-Centric Lighting (HCL) is becoming a growing force in the office, presenting a solution that supports occupant health and wellbeing to raise the level of productivity across the workforce. While coronavirus-triggered lockdowns have emptied office buildings around the world, it has not stopped work, and as many companies begin to shift towards increased remote working models for their employees, a new market is emerging for HCL in the growing home workplace market.
American Home Furnishings Alliance studies suggest that about 74% of office professionals in the US have worked at home due to stay-at-home mandates during the COVID-19 pandemic. Research from Global Workplace Analytics, claims 56% of the US workforce holds a job that is “compatible with remote work” and estimates that as much as 30% of the workforce will be working from home multiple days a week by the end of 2021. Recent announcements from Google, Microsoft, Twitter, and others, suggest that could be even higher.
San Diego, USA, based Martin Furniture saw an 80% to 90% increase in office furniture sales in April - “with everyone being directed to work from home, our product categories fit right into that,” said Gil Martin, CEO. Virginia-based BDI saw a 60% increase in home office traffic on its website vs. the same time last year - “To have that kind of growth in the home office category is very notable to us. People are carving out a niche for a home office wherever they can,” said Dave Adams, BDI vice president of marketing.
The 75-year-old California-based home specialist, Riverside Furniture, is also seeing a surge in the business but John Iasiello, Riverside’s senior vice president of planning and business development, doesn’t expect it to be a spike - “I don’t think working from home is going to be short term. I think the world is going to change, and part of it is going to be about working from home and learning from home. I think that is going to be with us for a long time.”
Home office furniture and appliance sales are up, across the board, and if the work-from-home trend is here to stay, then it is only a matter of time until workplace IoT technology moves into the home market. There are differences, of course, and one of those differences may be the lack of natural light. Commercial real estate has been actively increasing the level of natural light in buildings over the past decade, driven by the same science that is pushing HCL into offices. So, as people carve out a niche for a home workplace in the post-COVID new normal, a new market emerges for the health, wellbeing, and productivity-boosting lighting systems.
Human-Centric Lighting (HCL) are systems of illumination that are designed to trigger specific biological responses in humans. HCL incorporates relatively recent scientific discoveries that link particular wavelengths of light to specific biological responses in humans and recognizes that human biology is intrinsically linked to daily rhythms of sunlight through receptors in the eye and the circadian system. A global market worth $849 million in 2019 developed around HCL in a relatively short space of time, according to our HCL-focused 2019 report.
“HCL seeks to realign us with our natural rhythms by mimicking the progression of sunlight throughout the day. In doing so, it can improve occupant’s health and wellbeing, and therefore their ability to heal or learn, leading to improved recovery rates and productivity, for example,” states the report, that offers a comprehensive overview of the science, technology, and market potential of these life-enhancing lighting systems as they emerge into our built environment.
“While wavelengths that promote health and wellbeing may be desired to most lighting spaces, others like productivity, restfulness, healing, or learning are better suited to some environments than others. These differences allow HCL firms to design lighting systems to suit different spaces with different objectives. HCL applications have arisen in healthcare, offices, retail, hospitality, residential, and many more verticals, creating a confusing and fragmented market full of opportunity” the report continued, going into detail on the potential of each vertical market.
In offices, the HCL market is driven by executive decisions aimed to increase the productivity of their workforce, as well as by building owners and managers seeking to lure enterprise tenants with the same productivity promises. In the home office, however, the resident is the occupant, budget holder, and decision-maker, which shifts the paradigm and places a much greater emphasis on health, wellbeing, and comfort, not as paths to productivity but as goals in their own right. For work-from-homers, HCL also offers far more than home office improvement.
The correct light for each home activity can increase safety and efficiency, but also output quality, in the kitchen for example. Not to mention the hygiene benefits of cleaning your home with the lights set for maximum focus and visibility. HCL creates bedrooms that help people sleep and wake up, living areas that support entertainment and relaxation, and even hallways that prepare you for the conditions outside or warmly welcome you home.
“Human-Centric Lighting will continue to grow in popularity as homeowners become more aware of the solutions available to help them live a more holistic, nature-inspired lifestyle at home. What’s more, we anticipate a continued trend towards personalization – with the capacity to update lighting to extend daylight indoors as the seasons shift, create custom scenes that fit specific homeowner activities and moods, or otherwise tailor-based on each homeowner’s preferences,” says Liana Frey, Vice President of Marketing, Ketra.
“A growing awareness of dynamic, full-spectrum lighting is already creating increased demand for lighting solutions that can be personalized for the time of day, activity and mood - and we expect that high quality, tunable light with a high degree of personalization will one day become the standard for all spaces that we occupy.”