Articles, Ergonomics

Working at Home: Shed Some Light on the Subject

How to light your home office

Despite the long-ago invention of the electric light bulb, many of us work in the dark. Do your eyes feel dry? Do they ache? Do you constantly need to change the prescription of your eyeglasses? If so, look carefully at the lighting in your home office or workplace. You can control three factors:

Is the room bright enough? Does the environment make you feel cheerful and invigorated?

Can you see to complete your task? Is it easy to read a book, find function keys on your keyboard, see a handwritten column of figures?

Is there glare coming off your screen? Do reflections make it hard to see the screen?

Room lighting
However much light you have in your home office, bring in another lamp. The home office is a stepchild, collecting cast-offs from around the house. Lighting is expensive, and frequently there isn’t enough. In my office, there are a task lamp, two standing lamps that provide ambient lighting, and two windows. Ambient light should cast a sufficient glow. Library lights that illuminate a tiny circle on a desk or table do not provide ambient lighting.

Task lighting
To read fine print or see your keyboard, you need flexible task lighting. Depending on what you’re doing, you should be able to adjust the light so it shines where you need it most. The best task lights:
Have an arm with an elbow.
Are sturdy enough to stay put when you position them.
Have a shade that cuts down on glare.
Don’t get hot.

Glare
As you look at your monitor, do you see the reflection of a ceiling light or the outdoors behind you? Do you sometimes feel as if you’re looking into a mirror? Here are some ways to cut down on glare:
Move your monitor so it is perpendicular to the window or light.
Turn off your overhead light and bring in a floor lamp.
Use a dimmer on your overhead light.

Quick Fix: If the lamp at your desk isn’t providing enough light, put a book or two under it. When you raise the lamp, light disperses over a larger area.

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