With scientists predicting a second wave of COVID-19 to occur over the late Fall and Winter seasons, many companies are extending their work-at-home options. Unfortunately, what got many office workers through a temporary solution – working from the dining table or spare countertop space on the kitchen island for a few months during quarantine – is just not a comfortable work environment for the long-term.
What's most important is to create a setting where you'll be the most productive. According to lighting designer Peter Romaniello of Conceptual Lighting in Huntersville, N.C., your home office area should be comfortable and yet energizing.
If you are fortunate enough to have an area for a home office that is not part of a highly trafficked living area – for example, a spare bedroom – the lighting for the home office would ideally be brighter than in the rest of the house. Natural lighting is always a great energizer in work environments, so if you can have your home office or work station near a window (with a way to control sun glare by using a shade when needed) this will go a long way in making you feel more alert and productive throughout the day. If your office space is not close to a window, you will especially need higher light levels for your work area.
Buying a proper desk lamp is critical for a home office, even if you have natural sunlight and a general light source in the room. A task or desk lamp will bring additional brightness to your work surface, reducing eye strain and fatigue. There are many desk lamps on the market now, including homelighting.com – in styles that range from traditional to contemporary – with convenient features such as adjustable heads, several light levels or touch dimmability, as well as USB ports in the base for charging portable devices.
If you are choosing a desk lamp that has a medium-base socket (it will indicate this on the specification sheet), you can change out the light bulb to an LED version (one marked to fit medium-base sockets) to save energy. LED does not run as hot as an incandescent bulb, so not only will LED last years longer, it will feel cooler on the work surface. With LED, you will also be able to choose a brighter color temperature easily.
"When you think about the basics of lighting a typical office, in general you're talking about cooler color temperatures," Romaniello explains. The higher the color temperature (measured in Kelvins, and abbreviated as K), the "cooler" lighting's appearance.
"In general, we would say that the typical commercial office is illuminated [with light sources in a color temperature of] approximately 3500K to 5000K, while the home environment is [a warmer] 2700K to 3000K," he states. "The correlation is that not only do we perceive cooler spaces as being brighter, but we also perceive them as being more energetic. Imagine if you were working in an office that was lit to 2500K, like a restaurant. You're probably not going to be as productive because you're going to want to fall asleep. We have to think of color temperature when we bring an office setting into a home."