The lighting in your workplace can be a huge help or a huge hindrance, depending on its brightness and positioning. This can particularly be the case when working at a computer.
Some of the potential challenges to keep in mind when it comes to finding the right lighting for your workspace include:
- Glare – How big is the contrast between your screen brightness and the general level of light in the room?
- Lighting that’s too bright (can cause headaches)
- Insufficient lighting (can cause strain to the eyes)
- Stroboscopic effect & flicker – a particular problem where rotating machinery is concerned
- Veiling reflections – for example, glare on a computer screen from external ceiling lights
There are a number of solutions you can implement to address specific problem areas. They are:
To reduce glare in the workplace, try:
- Adding or changing lights to reduce the contrast between screen brightness and the general level of lighting in the room (for example, you might wish to add a desk lamp to your workspace)
- Increase or decrease reflectances of the room
- Reposition lighting around your workspace
Lighting that’s too bright, or insufficient
Working in an environment that’s poorly lit can cause eye strain, as well as posing the risk of trips, slips and falls. On the other hand, if the lighting is too bright, it can lead to headaches and difficulty concentrating.
You can optimise the lighting in your workspace by:
- Adding, removing or repositioning lights
- Cleaning existing lights
- Replacing failed lights and broken bulbs
- Moving your workspace to an area that’s more suitably lit
Colour effect can also cause issues when you’re trying to concentrate on your work, particularly if the lighting is very bright or harsh.
To combat this, speak to your manager about using ambient lighting with softer colours. The closer you can get to mimicking natural daylight, the better.
Stroboscopic effect can be particularly distracting, as well as being harmful to your vision and causing discomfort, visual fatigue and headaches.
To minimise stroboscopic effect, you can:
- Introduce more lighting to your workspace using a different electricity supply
- Replace failing lighting to ensure the area is more evenly lit
Flicker is one form of stroboscopic effect and is often the most obvious, as it’s visible even when the light source and the eye is static.
To reduce the impact of flicker, try:
- Changing lighting and light bulbs when they near the end of their life
- If the problem persists, use additional lighting powered through a different power supply
Veiling reflections occur when objects and lighting sources from the working environment are reflected on the task you’re working on. They’re common for those who work with reflective materials, such as metals, and those who work using a computer screen.
To minimise veiling reflections in the workspace, try:
- Increasing the reflectance of the room surfaces
- Changing lights – or their location or position – to provide more even lighting
- Using local or task lighting