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 long before you’ve even hit the snooze button. This “morning sunlight” is very different from the light produced by your fixtures in the kitchen or bathroom.

After you’ve tried using the right lighting for some 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. 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.

For example, 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. Use a task lamp that 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.

One of the first things to consider is 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 upgrade your overhead lighting. Not only will this help create the perfect work environment, but it will also help set your circadian rhythm in the morning, which in turn will help you get up and going.

Make Use of The Sunshine

We all know that artificial lighting can cause eye strain and create headaches. Staring at artificial light for long periods is problematic.

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 solarium at home.

Find a sunny, large window in your house and turn off the other lights, so the room only has one source of brightness – the natural one from the window.