Why your office lighting is making you tired – and how to fix it

‘Task lighting’ sounds like a fancy name for putting a lamp on your desk.

But there’s much more to it than that. Getting the lighting right in your workplace can have a big impact on your staff’s health and happiness.

Just think – how does your mood shift when you step outside after sitting for hours under a fluorescent tube? Chances are you’ll feel the difference.

Large overhead fluoros are efficient for lighting large spaces – but they can be terrible on the eyes, especially if the light hits your computer screen and makes it even brighter.

Too much artificial light can trigger fatigue and headaches, and reduce our accuracy.

It can be even worse for anyone who suffers from migraines.

Natural light is best – but it changes so much throughout the day and over the course of a year that even offices with great natural light need more options.

Quick lighting fixes can improve your mood and concentration

The correct task lighting can provide numerous benefits.

Every office needs a mixture of general and task-specific lighting; though many offices have simply installed general lighting and omitted task lighting.

Here are three ways to introduce effective task lighting and reduce over-illumination and glare:

Use LED lamps to soften screen glare

Try turning general lighting down to a minimum and use targeted, energy-efficient LED desk lamps.

Choose warm-white LED lamps with dimmers.

If possible, bring in more natural light to provide background illumination.

To reduce glare, place lamps to the side or behind computer screens.

Bring in as much natural light as possible

Bring in as much natural light as possible.

Consider installing f.lux on office computers.

This free app automatically adjusts the brightness of computer or phone screens.

You get warm hues at night and high brightness – more like sunlight – during the day.

It’s designed to make screens more closely resemble our experience of the natural world.

Set up a reading area

If you regularly read paper documents, consider a separate well-lit area.

Choose a bright, targeted LED lamp that you can pull closer or push further away as required.

Consider a full overhaul

If your office is flooded with bright white light, consider a radical overhaul.

Bring in large, omnidirectional floor lamps to provide a base level of light.

You can also convert bright fluoros to LED downlights that provide high efficiency as well as reduce glare.

Couple this with task lights so staff can choose what’s comfortable and ergonomic in their personal workspaces.