Best Lighting Tips for Computer & Desk Work

Heather Clouse
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Lighting Tips for Computer & Desk Work

Even when you first open your eyes in the morning, light has already been streaming into your room for hours, long before you’ve even hit the snooze button.

This “morning sunlight” is very different from the light produced by your everyday fixtures in the kitchen or bathroom.

After you’ve tried using the right lighting for a period of time, you will start to notice how it influences your mood and performance.

Change the Settings on Your Computer Monitor

When setting up a workstation, you should always pay careful attention to the lighting in the area. More natural light is ideal, but an overhead light or desk lamp should be used if natural lighting is not enough. To ensure you don’t get glare, your computer monitor contrast should be set to maximum.

Also, check your monitor position for glare. If it’s too glossy or reflective, position the screen so that it does not face the light directly.

Finally, you should set your computer screen for a comfortable brightness level. This will reduce strain on your eyes and help focus more attention on the work.

Use More Focused Task Lighting

To minimize eye strain from staring at the computer screen all day, use a task lamp or a smaller spotlight to light up specific areas around your work desk.

This way, you can concentrate on reading or working on something specific without straining your eyes.

In the example here, a task lamp is on the left side of my desk and aimed at my laptop. It is powerful enough to produce ample light for the laptop and the area around it.

It is not so bright that it draws your attention away from the computer.

This task lamp also has a flexible head that can be angled towards the screen as well as the keyboard for maximum flexibility.

Finetune Overhead Lighting Fixtures

With dawn-to-dusk exterior sunlight being crowded out by the presence of electric lights inside our homes and offices, it is easy to forget about the subtle ways the environment can influence our ability to concentrate on our work.

And now, with the advent of the information age, we spend more time on educational, professional and social activities that are directly influenced by changes in ambient light levels. Even though balancing work hours between office, lab, and home presents limits to sunlight exposure, it still does not hurt to give light management a thought.

Adjust Your Overhead Lighting

One of the first things to consider is the overhead lighting. Although many of us get used to the color of room lighting, it has potentially powerful effects on our mood, alertness, efficiency, and health. In many cases, the color temperature (how warm or cool the light feels) can influence how much we get done in a day and how happy we are when working.

So when youre getting ready for work, take a moment to adjust the overhead lighting to a light level of around 2000 lux.

Not only will this help create the perfect work environment, it will also help set your circadian rhythm in the morning, which in turn will help you get up and going.

Make sure there is sufficient overhead light at all times when you are at your ideal working place.

Make Use of The Sunshine

We all know that artificial lighting can cause eye strain and create headaches.

We are only made to stare at the sun, and staring at artificial light for long periods of time is problematic … and that’s to say nothing of the unhealthful quality of the light itself in fluorescent bulbs that constantly flicker.

Instead of staring at lights and screens for 8+ hours per day, make an effort to take a break every hour and go outside for a few minutes. It will not only refresh your brain but also boost your productivity.

Another quick way to create the same positive effect is to adjust your indoor lighting. If you’ve ever felt the difference between sitting by a bright window and being in a darkened room, you are already familiar with the power of light.

Natural light doesn’t have the same quality as artificial light and will cause you less eye strain. So go ahead and try creating your own solarium at home.

Find a sunny window in your house, preferably one with large windows. Hang up some light-blocking curtains and turn off the other lights so the room only has one source of light … the one from the window.