Working from home brings all kinds of challenges and finding a good working environment to suit the demands of video conferencing and prolonged computer work now requires your space to be lit properly; it’s for your own comfort and will look more professional.
Quickly benefit from a lighting designer’s 15 key methods to create a better space to work in at home and create comfortable and practical home office lighting.
Whether you have a home office or wherever you manage to find space to work – you will benefit by considering the lighting layers. We want to take the best of professional office lighting design and translate key principles into practical applications for your working space whilst retaining your homes character.
A key principle of good office lighting design is to consider the level of light (luminance) on all walls, floors and desks, to harmonise the levels of light on them and their appearance. We want to make sure there is enough general light in the room but also a key consideration for lighting is eye strain.
Eye strain causes fatigue and headaches and is exacerbated by strong contrasts where the eye is continually adjusting from bright to darker lit surfaces. The eye gets increasingly tired from looking at a bright screen to then adjusting to the longer view across a room, so the closer the brightness of the screen and the general working environment is, the less the eye has to do and more comfortable you will be over longer periods of time.
Tip 1: Modern best practise pro office lighting design will ensure there is enough light at the workstation but not light the rest of the space at the same level. Do not over light the room by ensuring the brightest place is at the desk.
Daylight is the most wonderful light to work in so gravitate towards it if you can and sit near a window. However in rooms that have less natural light and at night we want to begin with creating lighting with similar diffused qualities (but not the same color temperature).
Tip 2: We want to bounce light around the room just as daylight does so ensure there is reflected light in the room from table or floor lights, that is contributing to a general build up of light by pushing light out of the shade in all directions and particularly upwards out of the open part of the shade.
Tip 3: Turn on at least two sources of light to mix the directions the light is travelling in to create a good general level of light ready for you to introduce task lighting without it feeling too bright and become detrimental to the long term use of your eyes.
Tip 4: If you already have downlighters in a room then if you can dim them down to reduce the amount of direct overhead light onto your your working surface as it can be too bright. If you have the choice then consider using wall uplighters to send light upwards and bounce light from the ceiling back into the room for a comfortable ambient light.
All working surfaces require task lighting, light that is installed and positioned specifically for the job in hand. When working from home you will be looking at the screen, writing and reading so choose a desk or table light that is adjustable to create a concentrated shadow free pool of light near to where you are working.
Tip 5: It can be more comfortable for your eyes to allow the pool of light from a desk light to be offset from where you are working and rely upon this adjacent reflected light off of the table surface, rather than direct the light on top of exactly where you are working.
Tip 6: Glare is another source of fatigue and eye strain so make sure your choice of desk light is not too bright by choosing an output of LED lamp that is not more than 500 lumens and preferably with a 3000K color temperature for a clean warm white that is friendly and a step back from the usual harsher cleaner 4000K office lighting. This is especially important if you are working on a shiny surface.
Tip 7: If your working space is temporary then consider clip on lighting on an adjacent shelf that can be plugged into a 13amp socket, even a USB powered desk light that will power off your computer and become an indispensable part of your home office set up.
The fundamental trio of lighting layers is accent lighting that any residential space should include and probably already does. Accent lighting adds a dimension of light that creates interest and beauty for the eye and is actually not a frivolous addition because it’s your home but an element included even in corporate offices.
There is an association between wellbeing and higher productivity from happier workers and no less so for you in your own home. Accent lighting contributes to the general lighting as well as creating a more considered backdrop for the attendees of your Zoom calls!
Tip 8: Try lighting artwork, lighting shelving and ornaments, light an alcove or empty fireplace – anything to create visual interest.
Tip 14: Home office lighting for video conferencing and Zoom calls should be treated in much the same way a face is best lit in a mirror. The goal is an even wash of light across the face with minimal shadowing and bright enough for the webcam to portray a naturally lit face that shows the warmth of skin tones.
Tip 15: Practise having the right light on your face at the location you usually hold video calls from. Easily adopt pro video lighting techniques for your Zoom calls by reading our Best Zoom Call Lighting Tips to Look Great From Home