In today’s mobile work environment, home offices are becoming increasingly common.
Like traditional offices, the home office must be versatile and easily adaptable
to the changing needs of its occupants. The home office stands in stark contrast
to traditional office environments, however, in that it is part of your home and
thus must meet different expectations for style and beauty.
Unfortunately, home office lighting is often overlooked or at least given low
priority as work starts to pile up. As backs ache, more attention is typically
given to the right desk and chair but eye strain-induced headaches may go on
for years before something is done. Before you settle in to a daily work routine,
give your office lighting some thought. Lighting directly affects comfort and
performance and properly managing light levels in the room will reduce fatigue
and stress on your eyes.
Typical Home Office Lighting
Most home offices are illuminated by 1) whatever overhead light was in the
room previously and 2) a single desk lamp. This is not ideal. It’s not even
comfortable. So why do most home offices end up this way? The answer is
simply “Because that’s the way my old office was illuminated so it must be
ideal.” Really? Do you think your old office environment was ideally
configured for optimum lighting? More likely, it was illuminated in the
least expensive way possible; fluorescent overhead fixtures and a cheap
incandescent desk lamp.
Office work is eye-intensive. It requires quality light. Proper lighting
is perhaps the most critical element in home office design but it remains
one of the most overlooked while being one of the least expensive to fix.
How to Light your Office
Lighting is broadly classified in one of three functional categories:general
lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting. General lighting provides an
equal distribution of light across an area (think overhead fixtures). Task
lighting helps perform specific functions or task. Accent lighting is used
to highlight, showcase or soften contrast in specific areas. Although
most spaces benefit from a balance of the three types of lighting, the
home office will be largely focused on task lighting. If, however, your
home office is used for meeting with clients, you will need more general
and accent lighting to create a comfortable space (see below.)
Anyone that reads at their desk should have a desk lamp that uses a
quality bulb. Choosing a desk lamp is a topic in itself, but, at a minimum,
look for a lamp with a counterweighted support system and a halogen bulb