The growing trend of working from home has clearly accelerated as a result of the pandemic. By now, I expect most of us have figured out which home spaces to convert for that purpose and have optimized them with extra gear like second monitors, Zoom lighting and ergonomic chairs. My favorite upgrade is my Uplift standing desk. (Standing through part of my day has done wonders for my lower back.)
But I’ve recently realized that I’ve not sufficiently replicated one important environmental workplace element… good lighting.
Feet Away but Miles Apart
Sure I’ve got plenty of light on my face for my Microsoft Teams meetings at work, thanks to a carefully positioned Generay PB-64A LED (providing gentle fill light) and my window’s organic key lighting. And my Uplift desk is bathed in light from a compact Uplift LED desk lamp.
But this work space is not my entire home office. It’s actually an add-on to my existing home-office desk. So when I’m working from home, the transition back to my home iMac at the end of the day from my work laptop simply requires a 90-degree right swivel of my chair. Yes, it looks a bit like one of the tech cubes in that endless work cube farm seen in “Andor” on Disney+ (though not nearly as cool).
How Many Fingers can You See?
It’s my legacy home-office desk space that I’ve suddenly realized offers insufficient lighting (and the ceiling fixture just isn’t enough).
Why now? Well, I think it simply has to do with a pair eyes that aren’t growing any younger. I spot our twelve-year-old-son reading in dim light all of the time. (I immediately turn into my mother and flick on an overhead light for him.) A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I could handle dim light too. Now, not so much.
And I’ve been really feeling it recently typing away at my iMac… in the early mornings and at night when I don’t have the benefit of the sun at my back from my window. And what’s really brought this problem into focus for me is I’ve recently been trying to wear contact lenses again.
The Complexity of Aging Eyes
Being nearsighted since I was a kid, I wore contacts through most of my adult life. (Loved them!) But then my eyes started to change, reading glasses showed up, and my vision just got more… complicated.
The bottom line was I couldn’t easily see into the distance and read a computer screen with my contacts any longer. (It’s a common problem I’m told for adults of a certain age.) I tried multifocal contacts, which are like progressive lenses that allow you to see both near and far. I’ve also tried a monovision solution which makes your dominant eye focus on distance and the other eye tackle your reading. That forces your brain to rewire itself, and the trick doesn’t always work. (It didn’t for me.)
I know I don’t need to give you a full medical history of my eyes (I’m now trying out hybrid multifocal/monovision lenses, which look promising). But there’s one detail that my eye doctor told me that has stood out and is worth sharing.
More light is better.
In my circumstance, multifocal contact lenses will work better if my pupils aren’t too large, trying to suck in more light.
But I think it’s a basic rule for everyone… More light is better.
But like my twelve year old who has the super power to read in the near dark, we don’t really pay attention to good lighting until we need… optimal lighting.
No Space for More Light?
Yes, simply adding a lamp to your desk is the easy solution. (It’s not a huge aha.) But there may not always be a lot of extra space available for that purpose.
So, you may have to go with a slim-profile lamp design.
And that’s exactly what I did.
TaoTronics LED Desk Lamps
There are any number of affordable LED task lights on the market. Amazon’s got loads of them.
But I ran across a brand that’s received positive call outs from a few different reviewers. It’s TaoTronics. So, I decided to check them out.
TaoTronics makes a seemingly gazillion LED desk lamps to choose from.
Their dimmable and color-temperature-adjustable desk lamps range from $20-$50, based on the style and features. Those are great price points, considering you can spend hundreds of dollars on a desk lamp.
So I picked out one for me and one for our son’s desk (not that he asked for it, but I couldn’t help myself).
I ordered the two lamps directly on the TaoTronics website. (Amazon doesn’t carry them.)
It took a few extra days for the package to show up, but upon arrival, I quickly set up both desk lamps.
The extra light is simply joyous. Even my son is enjoying his new lamp.
My Mother Told Me So
Are my eyes working better with my new contacts as I sit at my brighter desk?
You know it!
If my mom were around today, she would give me that “Are you kidding?” look. Of course, more light is better!
Put a lamp on your desk so you can see better? Wow, that’s so insightful.
She told me this when I was five.
I suppose sometimes you’ve just got to figure things out for yourself.
In hindsight, vision is always 20/20.