Parts of the following are excerpts from a blog prepared by Luminaire et Cie.

Music playing in the background; the beeping of a truck backing up in the street; the loud laughter of a group of friends discussing their most recent weekend outing. It’s easy to identify a noise that bothers us or that breaks our concentration. But what about light? It also has a significant impact on our concentration, but its effects are a little less obvious. When light is not properly adjusted, it makes us squint, it tires us, and gives us a headache at the end of the day.

Here are some easy tips to increase your productivity simply by changing the lighting of your workplace: select the colour of light, adjust the distance as well as the number and position of the light source to optimize your ability to concentrate on your work.

For more information about Selecting the Optimal Office Lighting System, read our article on the subject and see some of the projects on which we have worked.

Light Colour

A cool white light (3500 K – 4000 K) is recommended to improve visual comfort, acuity and contrast at your desk. However, if you have more sensitive eyes, you should choose a soothing yellow light (2500 K – 3000 K). For more information about Colour Temperature, read our blog article on the subject.

Light Source Position

This feature is also important, especially if you work in front of a computer screen. Ideally, the light source should be behind you (from above or from the side); having a light source in front of you can be dazzling.

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.

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.

Light Source Distance

The greater the distance between you and the light source, the lower the brightness. For optimal visual comfort and concentration, avoid brightly-lit and dark areas in the same room. An ideal distance from above should be between 20 to 50 feet while a light source from the side, should be at a 10 to 20 feet distance from you.

For example, if you look at your computer screen when it is off and can see the reflection of neon lights, you can be sure this light source will surely disturb you when your screen is on. So you should either block that light source or move your workstation.

Consider Natural Light

Remember to take into account other light sources such as windows and room lighting. 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.

Number of Light Sources

To complement natural luminosity in your home office, you should set up at least two desk lamps rather than decorative pieces. You might also install a ceiling fixture that shines uniform lighting throughout the space. To learn more about various light sources, read the article 3 Basic Types of Lighting

Health Effects

Appropriate lighting is indispensable for your health and the wellness of your eyes; in addition, it makes for clearer thinking. Efficient lighting is also conducive to a higher level of performance and prevents excess fatigue over time.

For more information and to understand the results of research on the effects of LED lamps on the general population’s health, eyes, skin and circadian system, read this series (part 1 and 2) of articles.

Lighting for a better concentration level of work infographic

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  2. I really like your tip about choosing a soothing yellow light for your work light if you have sensitive eyes. If I were running a plumbing firm, and we needed to work on a project at night, I’ll definitely be sure to look for work lights that have a color temperature of 2500 to 3000 Kelvin. The client and the employees will certainly be happy that they aren’t straining their eyes too much while working.

  3. I had no idea that a cool white like can actually help improve visual comfort, which makes it easier to work. This seems like something that business owners and companies should take into account when installing commercial lighting, as it may affect productivity. Where can I learn more about lighting and concentration?

  4. Staying focused can be a challenge, especially in an environment with so many things going on. But I never really considered how important lighting was to our output. I am on a computer skin for most of my working day, and I agree that having a light source behind me really improved my work efficiency. Great tips!

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