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As a remote worker, it can be hard to set up your dedicated home workspace for optimal productivity. We’ve all focused on figuring out the best home office setup or getting the best laptop for your home work.
But one element that you may not have considered is the importance of home office lighting. With the right lighting, you can work comfortably and efficiently without straining your eyes or getting headaches.
If you work during the daytime, incorporating natural light into your workspace is a great way to improve your energy and focus levels, as well as help stave off the dreaded mid-afternoon slump. Or even if you mostly work at night, the right lighting setup can help you get more done too.
Solving Your Lighting Problems
In many cases, it can be difficult (or impossible!) to get the perfect lighting setup you desire depending on where and when you work.
I’ve had these issues with my own home office. There’s only one window, which gives good (but not great) natural light. Although I work mostly at night, so it’s not such a big issue for me. :^)
But if you’re a remote worker for a company that keeps traditional business hours, you’ll want to find the best functional lighting solution for your workspace you can.
Let’s take a look at our options regarding proper lighting.
Natural vs. Artificial Light
There are plenty of guides out there on how to use lighting to illuminate your remote workspace. Using smart light bulbs, ring lights, and office light fixtures are all great ways to shape the artificial light of your office.
But not much attention is given to the 400-pound gorilla of lighting: natural light. The sun is the biggest light gorilla there is.
We should take advantage of the free and abundant source that is natural light. While artificial lights can help illuminate your workspace, ordinary sunlight helps us to stay more alert and productive for longer periods of time. Plus, it also has psychological benefits such as improving our moods and alleviating stress.
When setting up your workspace, make sure that you maximize the natural light available by positioning yourself close to windows and avoiding obstructions to light.
Of course, we’re assuming you plan to work during the daytime. If you’re a night owl, all bets are off and you can skip to the Artificial Light section of this post.
How To Use Natural Light
Natural light is a powerful mood booster that can energize you, reduce stress levels, and improve your sleep quality at night. Exposure to sunlight triggers the release of serotonin, a hormone that regulates mood, sleep, and appetite.
By incorporating natural daylight into your work environment, you can prevent eye strain, headaches, and fatigue.
The first thing to do is to determine which room of your house or apartment you plan to work in. How many windows are there? Are they all mounted on one wall or are they positioned at an angle to each other?
Another option is to install skylights in your home office. This will allow natural sunlight to flow into the room without having to be near a window.
A great option is to use solar tubes. These take light from outside and redirect it at any level into any room. The light from outside can simulate conventional overhead lighting.
Adding plants to your workspace is a great way to bring light and life to your home office space. Plants act as natural light diffusers, and they also purify the air, making the air quality in your workspace better.
What’s more, different plants thrive in different lighting conditions. Depending on the lighting problem you need to solve, chances are there’s a plant that can help alleviate it.
Add some greenery to your workspace, and not only will you have a more natural-looking workspace, but you will also improve your indoor air quality and boost your overall mood and productivity.
Position Your Workspace
If possible, position your desk and chair near a window. This will ensure that you have constant access to natural light throughout the day. But avoid placing your computer monitor screen directly facing the window, or you might end up with an uncontrollable glare problem.
Here’s a photo of my own home office taken at midday. There’s only one window in the room, so I’ve positioned my desk and my ergonomic desk chair next to it in order to catch as much ambient light coming from the outside as possible. I get decent outdoor light in the room without it interfering with my multiple PC monitors.
If you can’t avoid glare completely, perhaps a good monitor arm can angle your screens away from the glare, or at least you can change their position as the sun angle changes throughout the day. In other places I’ve lived with different home offices, I’ve been able to solve glare problems that way.
Working Time Of Day
Here’s one for you freelancers and night owls (like me!) Consider the time of day in which you plan to work. If possible, try not to do your most important tasks during times when sunlight creates glare or shadows in your office space.
This is because youâ€™ll be less productive and more prone to making mistakes during this time. Instead, save your important tasks for the morning or evening (whichever you prefer) when natural light is at its best.
If you have multiple windows, choose the window that gets the most ambient lighting throughout the day. Also, consider the direction in which your windows face. East-facing windows let in the most natural light in the morning while west-facing windows let in more light in the afternoon and evening.
How To Use Artificial Light
When natural light is not available, artificial light is necessary. Artificial light can be just as effective as natural light when used properly. However, not all artificial lights are created equal.
It’s good to use different lighting for working and for relaxing. For example, I like to use ambient lighting to create a cozy, relaxing atmosphere that helps me wind down after a long workday.
If you donâ€™t have enough natural light in your space, then you should consider investing in some desk lamps. Desk lights can be positioned differently to adjust the lighting of your workspace. Theyâ€™re also very versatile and can be easily moved around if needed. You could even use floor lamps positioned near your desk if you have limited desk space.
Here’s a great desk lamp that can be set to various shades of light and can also be dimmable. It’s a good idea to be able to vary the artificial light at your desk depending on your available light outside. This light can display cool, natural, or warm light types. I use a floor lamp similar to this one as a reading light!
Another option is to install overhead lights. They are great for providing an even and consistent light throughout the room. They can also be used to create a warm and inviting atmosphere.
Overhead light could be from ceiling lights or accent lighting such as wall sconces mounted to your walls. They can produce normal white light, or a tinted amber type light if you prefer that.
If your lights include a dimmer switch or a timer, they can be used to eliminate harsh lighting effects and replace them with adjustable brightness to make a more comfortable space.
While natural light is essential, it might not be enough for certain tasks. For example, if you’re working on a project that requires more focused lighting or working late into the night, you might not have access to natural light.
In such cases, consider investing in task lighting such as a desk lamp, floor lamp, or even a ring light that can provide the concentrated lighting that you need for a specific task.
PC Lighting settings
Finally, you should also adjust your PC settings to reduce the amount of blue light thatâ€™s emitted. Blue light is known to have a negative effect on our eyes and can cause us to experience headaches, eyestrain, and even insomnia.
The color temperature of your lighting can also affect your productivity and mood. Daylight (5000-6000K) is ideal for work environments as it promotes alertness and concentration. Warm light (2700-3000K) is better for relaxing activities such as reading or meditation. Choose a color temperature that suits your needs and preferences, or use smart bulbs that can be controlled by your smartphone or voice assistant.
So make sure that you adjust your PCâ€™s lighting settings to reduce the amount of blue light emitted. This will help give you a better working experience and help keep your eyes healthy.
Home Office Lighting: The Last Word
The right lighting can make a world of difference in your home office. By incorporating natural and artificial light, optimizing lighting placement, choosing the right color temperature, and maintaining your lighting fixtures, you can create a comfortable, productive, and healthy workspace that promotes your overall well-being.
Experiment with different lighting options for your office space and find what works best for you. You’ll be amazed at how much better you’ll feel and perform. I certainly do!