I intend to continue my theme of motivation as discussed within the Hierarchy of Light and talk about how another factor of Motivational Theory can be applied to Lighting.

In 1959 Frederick Herzberg published “The Motivation to Work”. The book discusses two factor theory (motivation) based on topics we are all familiar with through our working lives, those of Job Satisfaction and Job Dissatisfaction. You could argue the first is a motivator whilst the latter in most cases is not.

These two truths were then placed under the heading of Motivational Hygiene becoming simplified into Satisfiers = Motivator and Dissatisfiers = Hygiene Factors.

The following table highlights the 6 key factors affecting Job attitudes:

Leading to DissatisfactionLeading to Satisfaction
Company PolicyAchievement
Relationship with BossWork Itself
Work ConditionsResponsibility
Relationship with PeersGrowth

We cannot treat this table as opposites as in reality, the opposite of Satisfaction is not Dissatisfaction but rather No Satisfaction ( The Rolling Stones were on to something when they couldn’t get no satisfaction). Also, it therefore follows the opposite of Dissatisfaction is No Dissatisfaction.

Herzberg argues there are two distinct human needs at play here, the Physiological needs, often fulfilled by money so you can purchase food or pay rent and the Psychological needs where there is a desire and need for activities that cause growth.

Similar to Maslow we are looking at how we motivate and satisfy our needs to belong and be recognised.

If we therefore focus on what drives us as individuals which is a sense of Achievement and Recognition of what we have achieved then we need to use another feature of Herzberg’s Theory; KITA, or to give it, its full name “Kick in the A***”, you can fill in the blank.

He talks about positive and negative KITA, you can reward which is positive and threaten which is negative. Bearing in mind we now have a handle on what motivates how does the lit environment impact on Motivation; well quite a lot actually.

When written in the 1950’s the word was a very different place and values very different to todays, but what is true of human nature is our need to be nurtured and developed to become the best we can be. If we use the example of a typical office, in many ways the layouts and furniture would not be that different to the 1950’s. We sit at desks and instead of working on typewriters or writing in journals we now stare at screens. The technology has evolved but the office is surprisingly similar to its counter part of the 1950’s.

We, however, have evolved and live in a very different working environment with many travelling greater distances for work and working remotely and perhaps using hot desks or meeting areas on an adhoc basis. The rigid layout of the past doesn’t reflect how the modern employee uses “Space”.

Empowering individuals is a Satisfier, it motivates and allows individuals to be responsible for their actions; this is the way we should work today.

The working environment must reflect this change and how our empowered workers will use that space. If they are not able to book a meeting room, access the internet or close the blinds and recall scenes then they will be Dissatisfied. If we have changed they’re working environment to reflect change and evolution, then we must light the spaces accordingly and give them control of the environment.

Local override of the lighting empowers and gives positive KITA as we are all individuals and need to feel we are in control. Increasingly with the growth in Human Centric Lighting then we are looking at Colour and intensity and how this can affect our mood and ultimately how we perform. Being able to change colour temperature to invigorate your working environment will have a positive affect and should lead to Satisfaction.

Lighting and Lighting control is about Satisfaction that leads to a positive affect that improves motivation and the effectiveness of individuals or a workforce and ultimately a company. Paying attention to what motivates and how that motivation can be nurtured and further developed is the path to growth.

It’s also worth pointing out that a few percent increase in the satisfaction of your workforce and ultimately their performance can add real benefit to the bottom line of the business. It’s also likely that depending on the age of your workforce, the lighting levels will be lower as we are all working on screens so there is the additional saving from dimming by way of energy savings.

It’s worth pointing out that you have a duty of care and in some instances, you can’t adjust the lighting as this may be dangerous or distracting; common sense must prevail.

So, install a flexible Lighting Management system such as zencontrol and empower your staff to take responsibility for their lit environment.

Stewart Langdown MSLL


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