The COVID pandemic has changed how we operate in many, many different ways, including where we work. Today, there are more people (4.3 million in the US!) working at least half the time, from home than ever before.
With the rise in the remote workforce, there’s been a scramble to cobble together a place in our homes where we can focus and get the job done.
Lighting is a critical aspect of interior design. It can set the mood in a room like nothing else, and it can completely change how you feel when you’re in it. And, believe it or not, lighting can even impact how productive you are, making it even more important when it comes to your home office.
Lighting design in your home office can have a direct impact on how well you can focus, how awake you feel while working and how much you get done in a day. It can even help to reduce eye strain! Keep reading to learn how to get it right.
Your guide to better home-office lighting
The key to home-office lighting is layering
There are a number of different things that happen in your home office every day. At any given time, you might be working on your computer, reading a physical book or magazine, participating in a video conference or meeting, writing or drawing by hand and any number of other things.
Not every kind of lighting is ideal for every task. And since there are so many different tasks that take place in your average home office, layered lighting is often the ideal choice, because it allows for different lighting options for different tasks.
Start by choosing an overhead light to evenly illuminate the whole of your office, ideally with a dimmer. Then, supplement the main light with additional task lights as needed.
Use a dimmer
The many different activities that take place in your office require different types of lighting. And, while task lighting can help to meet the lighting needs of different tasks, having an adjustable overhead light can also make a huge difference.
Installing a dimmer for your overhead light will give you the ability to adjust the brightness in your home office based on the task you’re working on. This will also help to ensure that you have the ideal lighting option at different times throughout the day when the natural light might be brighter or dimmer.
Take advantage of natural light
If you’re looking to improve the ambiance in virtually any room, natural light can be a powerful tool. Letting more natural light into your office can also help you stay more focused and productive throughout the day, and improve your mood.
The best part of natural lighting, though, has to be how good it can make you look on Zoom calls. It’s the cheapest, most effective way to get video conferencing lighting right.
The one downside to using natural light is that you have no control over the position of the sun, and at certain times of the day, the glare can be blinding. Suffice it to say, that will do nothing for your productivity level!
Invest in some translucent blinds for your home-office windows. This will allow you to enjoy natural sunlight without being blinded by a glare (or blinding everyone in your Zoom call).
Get the placement right of your lights
Believe it or not, the placement of the lights in your home office is just as important as lights themselves. A poorly placed light can create shadows, blocking the light from whatever you’re working on.
Desk lamps, for instance, make great task lights, but if you put them in the wrong place, you won’t get the illumination you need.
Whether you’re writing something by hand or using a mouse, place your task light on the other side of your working hand to avoid shadows. Elevating the task light will give you even better results.
Perfect the lighting on video calls
Video calls are the new normal for remote employees. The business that used to be conducted in person or over the phone has now, by and large, moved to Zoom and Google Hangouts, among other video conferencing software.
Of course, we all want to look our best when we’re video conferencing with our bosses, and apart from making sure you’re dressed and presentable from the waist up, the lighting in your home office plays a huge role in how you look.
As I mentioned previously, natural light, preferably from a source behind your monitor/camera, is probably the best video call lighting you can ask for, especially if you want to avoid having to spend a lot of money, but natural light isn’t always on your side.
For the best artificial lighting set-up for Zoom calls, you want three fixtures located behind and above you, pointing down at you, and use LED light bulbs for the best video quality. Alternatively, a ring light is an easy solution that works well.
Combat eye-strain with corrective lights
When you work at a computer all day, it can lead to painful eye strain and migraines. But, luckily, there are ways you can avoid them with the simple use of corrective lighting.
By placing corrective lights behind the screen setup or monitor, you can help to dull the bright glare from the screen.
One other thing you can do to combat eye-strain in your home office is to follow the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, take 20 seconds to focus your eyes on something outside that’s at least 20 feet away.
Lighting is important for so many reasons, but it’s not the only critical piece of an effective home office where you can focus and get the job done. And if you need help designing the ultimate office space, turn to a professional, local interior designer. Top Rated Local® can help you find the right one!
With Top Rated Local, you can read compare the top 10 interior designers near you side by side, get a snapshot of their online reputation overall, read interior designer reviews from across the web, including Google, Yelp and Angie’s List, and see how interior designers stack up based on the five pillars of excellence — quality, value, timeliness, experience and satisfaction.