Whether you are a self-employed worker, a student or an individual who is contemplating working from a home-based office, appropriate lighting is indispensable for your health and the wellness of your eyes; what’s more, it makes for clearer thinking. Efficient lighting is also conducive to a higher level of performance and prevents excess fatigue over time. And who says you can’t combine both practical and esthetic components in your home office!

Several factors come into play when arranging proper lighting that is both efficient and appealing. To begin with, you need a fair proportion of natural and artificial light; the position as well as the intensity of the light source are equally important, as are a suitable type of bulb, lamp models and the lighting surrounding a screen. To enable you to arrange your home office favourably, we offer some advice that will allow you to work in the most optimal lighting surroundings. The following is an article taken from a blog prepared by Luminaire et Cie.

1) Measure Out the Amounts of Natural and Artificial Light

Given that you might be spending long hours in your home office, you will need to install adequate lighting that promotes productivity while preserving the health of your eyes. Ideally, you should have good natural light (a window, a skylight). However, these are not sufficient, as the seasons tend to bring with them fluctuating luminosity, especially in a northern region such as ours. In fact, light can change in as little as a few hours during the course of a given day, so it is essential to increase the number of light sources to vary their use according to the hour of the day and the desired working conditions. The wellness of your eyes is of foremost importance, but in order to remain alert and energetic, you must select a high degree of luminosity to create the proper ambiance; conversely, soft and subdued lighting will help create an atmosphere that lends itself well to quiet reflection.

To complement natural luminosity in your home office, you should set up at least two desk luminaries rather than decorative pieces. You might also install a ceiling fixture that shines uniform lighting throughout the space. Learn more about various light sources: Read the article entitled 3 Basic Types of Lighting in our Online Journal. Make sure that the lamps you select are equipped with a swivel arm and a rotating head piece. Both these practical features will allow you to focus your attention on very detailed work without straining your eyes. When required, select a system fitted with an intensity potentiometer or any other device that helps create the proper atmosphere as the (work) spirit moves you!

If the number of lamps in a work space is important, so is their positioning, their alignment and the quality of light they emit. These elements may vary, more or less, based on various criteria such as the type of work you accomplish, the interior design, and of course, your own preferences.

3 basic types of lighting infographic

2) Define the Alignment of your Luminous Flux

Are you right- or left-handed? It may seem like an insipid question, but this factor is critical to the positioning of your lamp in the home office space. If you are right-handed, you should place the lamp on your left to limit the shaded areas when you are writing. The situation will be reversed for a left-handed person. Aim the light beam towards the middle of the work space without it crossing over into your visual field. If you work on a computer, set up a low intensity lamp close to the side or the back of the device to avoid straining your eyes. Your ceiling fixture should disperse light throughout the space, and it should be evenly distributed.

In each case, make sure to avoid direct glare; keep the luminous flux away from your field of vision. In addition, steer clear of indirect glare caused by light reflecting on a lacquered or polished surface; choose matte finishes for optimal lighting and comfort.

If you routinely work at the computer, don’t forget that the screen diffuses a certain amount of light. And even if your computer screen is clearer in unlit surroundings, you should avoid remaining in the dark when you work. Also, you should restrict light reflection to a minimum; it tends to soften the contrasts and prevent accurate legibility of the written material on the screen. Whenever possible, avoid placing the computer in direct natural or artificial light; rather, position the module at a perpendicular angle to the light source even if it means pivoting the computer screen as the natural light shifts.

3) Select the Appropriate Light Bulb

Lamps basics infographic

Select bulbs that may suit incandescent, halogen, fluorescent or eve LED luminaries. To assist you in your selection, read the article entitled How to Read Lighting Product Labels on our Online journal.

In the case of your home office lighting, a good quality light bulb must keep glare to a minimum. Ideally, you should aim for warm, natural lighting that is not too white. The colour of a light source has a significant effect on a person’s visual well-being. Warm shades such as yellow and orange have a colour temperature below 3,300 K, while colder shades such as white or blue tend to raise the colour temperature above 5,300 K. Learn more about colour temperatures and shades of light; read the article entitled 50 shades of light.

Generally speaking, intense lighting should contain cold shades while softer lighting should project warmer shades. As a precautionary measure, it is always best to install a fluorescent light bulb at least 30 cm (11.8’’) away from your body.

4) Adjust the Brightness Level

Brightness of a lighting system should be adapted to the type of work you do. For instance, precision work that involves attention to detail requires high intensity lighting. You will also need to avoid too great a divide between the degree of lighting on the work space and the environment (for example, a deep-coloured background offset by the brightness of your computer screen). Such a contrast will likely cause fatigue, as the eyes need to constantly adjust to varying levels of intensity.

Finally, we must consider the age factor. Unfortunately, a person’s eyesight tends to deteriorate with age. A 20-year old person needs less light than does a 50-year old person. So, you should factor in your age when you define your home office lighting.

Optimal productivity requires optimal work conditions. Your home office lighting should be geared to ensure the most favourable working environment.

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