We spend a lot of time working at our desks and staring at the screens. There’s lots that comes into play when setting up your office desk area. But one of the most important factors is the quality of lighting. What is the best lighting for computer work? Because productivity and comfort while working is always the main priority.
Here are some main tips to think about when choosing proper lighting for your home office spaces and your desk setup.
Best Lighting For Computer Work
Why Is Proper Office Lighting So Important?
Poor lighting conditions, long hours working can have a negative impact on our health problems. As more than ever we’re working or playing on some type of screen. Desktop computers, a laptop screens or we might be checking our phones or tablet in between as well. That’s a lot of screen time! Which isn’t the best for our eyes.
Some lighting doesn’t mean you have the right lighting for working on the computer. Harsh lighting or inadequate lighting can be just as bad as having just the computer screen as the only light source. Also working in shadow can contribute to poor visibility.
So it’s important to account for both. This is why layering your office lighting is the best option.
Because we’re so focused on our bright light screens this can cause eye strain, dry eyes, blurred vision and headaches. Also known as computer vision syndrome.
While getting up and taking a break away from the computer screen every now and then will help, having the right lighting will go a long way and will reduce the strain that blue light can have. Because ultimately we still have to get our work finished.
What is Blue Light?
Each colour of the spectrum has different wavelengths. Blue light is a high energy and visibility light spectrum made up of short wavelengths. Blue light is highly visible to the human eye. The shorter the wavelengths the more energy it transmits.
Sunlight has blue light in it which helps us wake up and get our body into it’s natural circadian rhythms. Letting us know when it’s time to get up when it’s time for bed.
The problem is when we have too much artificial lighting from blue light sources found in everyday tech devices like our phones. It can mess with our body clock and make us moody and tired.
LED blue lights are used to backlight electronic screen devices like televisions, phones, tablets and computers. Because of the blue light’s powerful energy it tends to keep us up and alert. This is why it can be difficult to get to sleep after being on a screen before bedtime.
Reducing the effects of constant blue light while working is just one of the reasons for proper lighting while working on a computer.
What Kind Of Lighting Is Best For Computer Work?
Having at least one source of indirect lighting is important when working on the screen for a long time. This can be a table top task light or floor lamp next to your desk. Lights that have different colour temperature settings (from a cool colour light to a warm white light). As well as adjustable brightness levels and are the best option for office lighting.
What colour light is best for computer work?
Using different colour temperatures for your computer lighting will vary depending on the time of day and the work tasks.
A cool blue LED lamp is usually considered a harsh light source around the home. But for office work a cool light can be good for focus and concentration early in the day. Blue light seems to be the most disruptive at night as that’s when you’re supposed to be winding down.
Warm white lighting with a yellow or orange tint works better for the evenings. It’s a softer light and not as strong as blue light can be.
Types Of Lighting
- LED lights: Are popular for energy efficiency and have a good lifespan.
- Fluorescent lighting: In the form of fluorescent tubes or compact fluorescent bulbs. A longer lifespan than the incandescent bulb but not as energy efficient as LED lights.
- Smart bulbs: Are lights that you can customize and control remotely. Ideal for accent lighting using home technology as part of a tech device. Such as your iPhone, Amazon device or Google Assistant.
- Incandescent bulbs: The original light with filament wire that produces a warm light. Has a short life span and uses a lot of energy for lighting.
1. Layer Your Office Lighting
Layering your lighting so you get the best home office lighting. You should have at least two or three different light sources including your overhead lighting. This includes natural light if you have it.
A good starting base for your office lighting is overhead lights, a task light and natural light from a window. These are the most important lights. Lighting includes ambient lighting, task lighting, decor and accent lighting.
2. Natural Lighting For Computer Work During The Day
If you have plenty of natural sunlight during the day time then let as much light as you can in to combat the light from the computer screen. But bright sunlight can be a problem depending on the position of your computer screen and the direct of where light shines from.
If the window is directly behind you using blinds or sheers can help avoid being blinded by direct sunlight. Doing this will use and diffuse the natural light during the day effectively. Without causing glare and light from bouncing off the screen.
3. Ambient Lighting
Ceiling lights are good for your general lighting. And your overhead lights is mostly your ambient lighting for a room. These are lighting fixtures such as recessed lights and chandeliers.
If the ceiling light is too bright from your ceiling fixture, you can swap the bulbs out for a lower brightness. Or take a couple of bulbs out of the light fixture.
Using a table lamp with a lampshade can be another of different source of ambient lighting. As it’s not directly targeting your screen or a space on your work desk. But still giving you soft diffused light source.
4. Task Lighting
Having targeted light fixtures is important for the best office lighting. This can include a pendant light directly above your work desk or a good desk lamp.
I think an adjustable desk lamp is needed in an office space for good lighting. That way you can adjust to whatever task you’re working on depending on if its daytime or evening. Even if you have a home office with no windows. If this is the case adjustable lighting with a colour temperature option is even more important for you.
For reading books or paper documents using is task light is important. Target light for these kind of tasks will reduce straining your eyes.
Having a task light next will to your computer monitor will minimize the glare. As long as you’re not targeting the task light directly on to the screen. Use task lights indirectly by sitting them in front and to the side of the computer monitor.
Long arm task lights or lights with adjustable arm goosenecks are easier to move around and position as you like. Either of these make the better choice for the best desk lamp. Light fixtures like floor lamps and sconces can give a good amount of targeted light when nearby too.
5. Accent & Decor Office Lighting
With smart lighting you can add some much needed extra lighting but you can have fun with it too. Using lighting decor tech features such as LED strip lights and play bars can help enhance your work space. By offering more indirect lighting in other areas of your work space.
Using accent lighting can look great behind your computer or around your desk using a different light colour. These types of features are especially good for working late into the night when you’ll need the extra lighting the most.
But you can also have fun with these kinds of lighting by syncing them up to a smart home tech kit. Using either a smart assistant on your phone or a separate tech device.
By linking them up that way you’ll be able to create a whole lighting setup for your computer work. Making all the lights the same colour tone and brightness. Or you can control the light devices individually depending on what you’re working on and the mood you’d like to create.
helpful extra ideas
Set Your Computer Monitor
The first thing you should check is the brightness setting of your monitor screen. If the light is too dim you’ll be straining your eyes to see what’s on screen. If the light level is too bright and you won’t be able to look at it for long.
Your brightness setting should be mid range. Remember to allow for your settings to be adjusted depending on time of the day and the weather conditions outside. For an example on a cloudy day you might have to turn your brightness level down to avoid your screen being too harsh on your eyes.
Good office lighting will also set you for for video calls and video conferencing. You’ll be sure that you can be seen and you can see everyone else too.
Blue Light Blocking Glasses
Wearing blue light blocking glasses can help reduce the effect of eye fatigue. These types of glasses help limit the blue light emitted from the screen. This is can be a helpful extra to go alongside your office lighting.