When it comes to workstation setup, the first things that come to mind are the desk, chair, screens, and keyboard. And, sure, you must customize your workstation equipment and furniture to meet your specific needs. Ergonomics is critical in today's workplace. We usually equate the term ergonomics with products that impact our posture, with manufacturers that plaster the terms alongside ‘lumbar support' and ‘muscle fatigue reduction.' However, a workspace is much more than that. A decent office that considers a practical and beneficial workplace environment must also consider the critical aspect of lighting.
Ergonomic lighting is critical for worker well-being and aids in preventing Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). When looking at digital displays for extended periods, many people develop eye irritation and eyesight problems. The level of discomfort tends to rise in direct proportion to the length of time spent in front of a digital screen.
Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS)
Computer vision syndrome (CVS) is an eye strain that occurs when using a computer or digital gadget for an extended period. Anyone who has spent a few hours using the computer has most likely experienced some of the side effects of excessive computer or other digital technology use. It is possible to reduce physical discomfort by following a few easy measures.
An eye exam by your eye specialist can identify computer vision syndrome, with extra consideration of how the eye performs and adapts at computer range. Here are some of the most common problems associated with computer vision syndrome:
● eye irritation (pink/red eyes)
● blurred or double vision
● dry eyes
● reduced focus and productivity
● pain in the neck and shoulders
● inability to identify colors
● making errors in work
The symptoms mentioned above may be caused by:
● poor lighting
● bad posture
● glare on a computer screen
● uncorrected eyesight problems
● inappropriate viewing distances
● a combination of the causes mentioned above
Inadequate lighting is a primary contributor to these complaints of eye strain. However, your company cannot create a one-size-fits-all workplace environment; we must consider that each of us demands a different amount of light. Some workers may want only a small amount of lighting at their workstations, but others may need more light to be most functional. Employers must collaborate with employees to create the optimum workstation for them, including lighting, to be most efficient.
Other issues that can come from lousy lighting include picking lighting in your office that is too dark or too intense. When the lighting is too low, it can induce squinting and eyestrain, but too bright lighting can wash out the graphics on computer monitors, making it difficult for your employees to see. Making bad lighting selections might cause your staff to feel exhausted and anxious while doing their tasks, resulting in a general loss of productivity and motivation, as well as an increased risk of errors and accidents. Consider ergonomic lighting.
Lighting should be designed with versatility and choices in mind for your employees. Not only can you make them happier, but you can also accommodate their specific demands, such as changing between lighting requirements for paper and computer and catering to the needs of older workers. Sight deteriorates with age, and a more senior worker may demand many times the amount of light that a younger worker does to read the same materials.
Tips on achieving good ergonomic lighting
Here are some simple ways you can make your office a better place to work in terms of ergonomic lighting so that everyone can have a more effective, happier work environment:
Yellow- or warm-toned lights over white
Yellow-toned lights are gentler on the eyes than intense white lights like fluorescent lights because they appear more realistic. Yellow-toned lights are not only less disruptive to circadian rhythms, but they are also more aesthetically attractive.
Utilize natural light as much as possible throughout the day. According to studies, people with access to natural light are more awake while working and sleep much better than those who work in artificially lighted workplaces.
Benefits of natural lighting:
● Enhances productivity
● Happier and healthier employees
● Drop-in electricity costs
● Makes the workspace look more appealing
● Employees are more engaged
The use of both overhead and task lighting is referred to as dual-source lighting. You can help personalize your employees' needs based on their workstations by providing a common light source while giving them the freedom of desk lamps or task lamps. Many employees must alternate between using their computers and printing paperwork. Paper, on the other hand, needs significantly brighter illumination than a computer. With a task light, your employee may vary their lighting appropriately, with their desk lamps directed on their paperwork while relying on general lighting for their monitors, avoiding eyestrain by always having the correct amount and light source.
Dual-source lighting can also help you reduce your impact on the environment while saving money. Having conscientious workers may help you save money on electricity bills and offer ergonomic lighting advantages by minimizing the need for extra ceiling lights even when it is unneeded.
A bright light source creates a glare that either directly enters your line of vision or is reflected off shiny surfaces. Glare can irritate your eyes since it makes it difficult to distinguish anything other than the brightest light. Direct glare is caused by bright areas immediately in the visual field, such as windows, ceilings, and lamps. Indirect glare is caused by light reflected from surfaces, including the workstation, which is in the field of vision. Glare causes eye strain because it compels your eyes to readjust to the light level, making dull regions of your workstation difficult to see.
Bright lights surrounding your screen wash out pictures, making it hard to see or read your work and causing you to strain your eyes. Excessive overhead lighting on your screen can cause contrast issues, requiring you to squint your eyes to see your work. Reflected light from overhead lights or glossy surfaces, such as tabletops or walls, can generate glare and make it very hard to see your screen. Here are some suggestions on how to manage these:
● Switch off or eliminate some of the fluorescent lightings over your workspace.
● Use task lighting to highlight writing and reading jobs while keeping the brightness around your display to a minimum.
● Glare protectors can help you decrease or reduce glare on your display.
● Pointing down the display to avoid it catching overhead light.
● Choose a keyboard with a matte finish.
● Propose to your boss that the ceilings and walls be painted with a matte paint that produces a smooth appearance. The reflection from matte-finished surfaces is shadowless and glare-free, making it excellent for computer work.
● Relocate your computer or workstation so that bright light sources, like unprotected windows, are right angles to your computer monitor.
● Use window blinds or curtains to block off the bright natural light.
● Reduce distress from blue light. Blue light from LED, fluorescents, and mobile devices can have a long-term harmful impact on vision. You can mitigate blue light by using special lens tints and coatings. Use a glare reduction filter, adjust the screen, or use drapes, shades, or blinds to reduce glare on the computer monitor. Keeping screens clean is also essential.
● Body positioning is crucial when using a computer. The computer and how it is used are two vital elements in preventing or minimizing CVS symptoms. This covers lighting, chair comfort, the arrangement of reference materials, the monitor's position, and the usage of rest breaks. Consider using a standing desk, desk riser, or monitor arms and mounts to give you the freedom to adjust your monitor level according to your needs. An ergonomic office chair will take care of your comfort when sitting. The ability to regulate the brightness at your standing desk is improved by having an ergonomic task lamp or desk lamp. If you're using a LED bulb, be sure it's adjustable. If you cannot adjust the intensity of the light of your task or desk lamp, tilt the light head; this lessens brightness by controlling the angle of the light.
Start implementing ergonomic lighting in your company to promote health, comfort, and efficiency.