How To Adjust And Set Up An Office Chair: Simple Five Step Cheat Sheet.

Looking at posts in forums or on Twitter and FaceBook it’s amazing how often I see comments like
“I've had this office chair for 3 years and just found how to adjust the back height.”
So in case you're not sure of all the functions on your chair here's a simple set of 5 steps on how to set it up to suit your needs.

Adjusting An Office Chair: 5 Step Cheat Sheet

Step 1 – Adjust The Seat Height
Begin by raising the seat to its full height and then gradually lower it until your feet are firmly on the floor with your legs angled slightly forwards. This is usually controlled by a lever on the right underside of the chair, or occasionally by a button.

Step 2 – Adjust The Seat Depth
Where fitted, adjust the seat depth by sliding the seat in or out to suit your leg length. Aim to have a gap of about 2 inches between the back of your knee joint and the seat edge. Unfortunately this very important feature is missing from the majority of office seats, this article explains why seat depth matters.

Step3 – Adjust The Back Height And Or Lumbar Support
Raise or lower the chair back so that it gives you good overall support, especially the bottom part of your back. If you have an adjustable lumbar support, use this to fine tune support for your lower back. On some better quality chairs which have full height backs they may be fixed, however there is normally a lumbar support to enable individual comfort.

Step 4 – Adjust the arm height and angle
Adjust the height of the arms so that your shoulder muscles are relaxed and your lower arms are at right angles to your body. Some arms also allow you to alter the angle of the pads and this is worth adjusting to give good support for the task you are performing.

Step 5 – Adjust The Tilt Tension
Where fitted adjust the tilt tension control until you can recline in your chair and the back gives natural support being neither too stiff or too easy to move when leaning back in the chair. Often times though chairs lack this function which can make reclining really awkward.

Here's a link to download my simple cheat sheet explaining the process which you can then print out if it helps. In a future post I'll be taking a look at how to address your work space properly so you don't find you are stretching or twisting unnecessarily.

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3 Simple Tips To Cut Out Pain For Office Workers By Eliminating CCS From Your Life

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Often office workers who suffer pain at work are serial CCS abusers. What’s this CCS all about and how do I know if I'm a victim of it?

OK, suspense over. In this three part article we’re going to look at the three main reasons people suffer pain in the office by needlessly persisting with bad working habits.

3 bad working habits

  • Cradling
  • Craning
  • Slouching

Let’s start with the first one.

Cradling
Cradling can be seen in any office up and down the country. People on a phone call and when it lasts any length of time they wedge the phone between their head and shoulder.

It’s a horribly unnatural angle to place your head and neck in. And the longer the call goes on the more damage it inflicts on your shoulder and neck muscles. It wouldn't be quite so bad if you switched side, yet most never do.

The best answer is to stop doing it and work more healthily. Instead hold the receiver in your hand and when the call is prolonged switch sides frequently.

Where your job involves using the phone a lot it’s a good idea to invest in a headset.

Now it’s the turn of bad habit number 2 – craning.

Craning
This one is so easy to fix. All you have to work on is realizing you're doing it. The only thing is because you can’t see how your sitting it’s not as obvious as it might be.

So what's this craning all about? It’s all about addressing your work incorrectly by having your monitor too far back on your desk top. And because it’s not in the right position to be read comfortably you end up craning your neck forwards.

And of course this places your upper neck and shoulders in an awful posture resulting in pain.

Simple solution is to move your monitor closer with the height set so your eyes are roughly level with the top of the viewable part of the screen. An even better solution is to use a monitor arm, it will add loads of flexibility to your workspace.

And for our final bad habit – cue up the slouchers.

Slouchers
Slouchers are really easy to spot, especially serial ones. They sit slumped forwards and often their body is not in contact with the chair back. Consequently their back is totally unsupported and prevents the chair back from supporting them properly

This posture rounds the back and puts the spinal cord and back muscles under a lot of stress.

In her excellent book, 8 Steps To A Pain Free Back Esther Gokhale explains how to sit properly. Here’s a great video of a talk she gave at TEDxTalks where she demonstrates how to do it.

 

Let’s summarize the 3 points we've covered here.

    • Cradling a phone between head and shoulders should be avoided – hold your phone in your hand, or use a headset
    • Craning your neck forwards is bad, instead move your screen closer or invest in a monitor arm
    • Slouching rounds the back and stresses spine and back muscles – take a few minutes to watch the video on how to sit properly

Eliminating these three bad habits will greatly improve your working comfort in the office.

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When Would You Use A Saddle Seat In The Office?

Humanscale Freedom Saddle Chair

The idea of an office saddle seat is something that has been around for many years.

Even so, it is relatively unusual to find one in use in most offices.

Nonetheless in the right circumstances it makes an excellent choice of seat instead of a traditional office chair.

Let’s begin by looking at the concept.

What exactly is a saddle chair?
As the name suggests the actual seat pad is shaped much like a horse’s saddle.

And just as when sitting on a horse it places your legs in a wider more open position.

It encourages your torso to adopt a much healthier sitting posture as it open up the angle between legs and back. Not only that it feels a very stable way of working due to the wider distance between your feet. Together with the upright seat support this forms a balanced way of sitting.

Generally speaking most of these sorts of seat still retain the usual gas lift and wheeled base and these help to make very versatile for certain situations.

Who can benefit from using one?
Anyone who moves around their workspace a lot will likely find the saddle concept very useful. It’s far quicker and easier to move around compared to a swivel chair. This is down to the way you use your feet to move it.

These seats are popular with designers and architects who frequently need to move from a desk to a layout table to work on plans and drawings.

Another way they work well is for people who work at higher work surfaces. The ever increasing popularity of movable height desks
make a saddle chair a popular choice.

They also work well for medical professionals. Dentists, surgeons and sports masseurs find this way of sitting makes their work a lot easier.

Where to find more information
Here's where you can read more about the saddle seat way of sitting and reviews of two popular products.

How Office Chair Seat Height Causes Problems For Some Office Workers: A Resizing Moment

It’s easy to think that anyone should be able to adjust their office chair seat height to suit their needs. After all that’s what the gas lift is for isn't it? So why could it be a problem for certain people?

For the majority of office workers it won’t cause a problem. That’s because they fall into the category chair manufacturers call ‘average built.’ Broadly speaking this is anyone between say 5 feet 6 inches and 6 feet tall.

As this height range covers the majority of people working in offices it’s only natural that chair makers design their seats to fit them.

What happens when you're not average built?
Depending on how far you fall outside the average will dictate how big a problem this is.

To be properly comfortable in you seat you need to have your feet resting squarely on the floor. Not only that you need to have your legs set at an open angle. The old recommendation of sitting at 90° isn't a good idea and probably never was.

You should aim to sit in a more open posture with the angle between body and thighs at 110° or more.

For two categories of people this may not be possible without a radical change to their seat.

Let’s move on to the first group this affects.

How short people struggle with seat height
The big problem for people under about 5 feet 5 inches in height is they often find their seat doesn't go low enough and they are unable to rest their feet squarely on the floor. This puts pressure on thighs and the undersides of their legs become painful after sitting for a short while.

And at the other end of the spectrum, there’s a different issue.

The problem tall people face with the height of their seat
Tall people have no trouble resting their feet on the floor. The snag is in the angle of their legs. They end up like a partly opened penknife with knees and thighs angled up in the air. The tight angle they find themselves sitting at quickly becomes uncomfortable.

So what's the answer to these difficulties?
The easiest way of fixing these issues is to change the gas lift for one more closely matched to your height.

Good manufacturers offer alternative gas lifts allowing the chair to go lower or higher than standard.

Here’s a quick tip
Standing up measure from the floor to the middle of your knee. Note down this dimension and make sure any replacement gas lift adjusts an inch or so either side of this measurement. Provided you find a match simply changing the chair’s pneumatic lift will fix things.

Another idea for short built people is to use an adjustable footrest.

Further information
Here’s where you can find articles and ideas related to this problem.

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Looking For A Cheap Office Chair? The Skootch Factor

People often want to know which is the best cheap office chair to buy. And if you spend more than an hour a day in your chair the answer is always the same. There is no best cheap office chair. Period. Hang in there though as there is an affordable workaround. First though let's examine why cheap chairs are such a lousy option.

Why cheap office chairs are a bad idea
Unfortunately office furniture and supplies outlets have done a pretty good job of giving entirely the wrong impression about office chairs. More often than not they are full of sub $100 chairs, which on the face of it look great and are even comfortable when you try them for a couple of minutes. Not surprisingly people come to believe that a $100 will buy you a good desk chair.

It won't, here's why. For a start they lack some vital functions making it impossible to gain proper comfort. And if that isn't bad enough here's the main reason. It's one that you can't see.

The actual workings and structure of an office chair are hidden in its upholstery or under the seat itself. This allows budget chair manufacturers to hide low quality components from the unsuspecting buyer. And after a few months bits start to work loose and the once springy padding goes as flat as a tape worm and it feels like sitting on concrete. Quite often people tough it out for a couple of years and then go out and repeat the process by buying another low quality chair. Surely it's better to buy a good quality chair?

But I can't afford to spend hundreds of dollars on an ergonomic office chair
In truth to get a good quality office seat which is going to last you for a number of years you need to lay out at least $350 or more. Of course it's perfectly understandable particularly in these challenging times that many people don't have the funds to invest this sort of money. So, unfortunately due to lack of funds they tend to repeat the cheap chair syndrome all over again ending up in the same frustrating position all too quickly.

A much better idea is to save for a decent replacement each month. You may need to tough it out in discomfort for a little while longer, however in the long run you'll be glad you saved up for the right answer.

With that said there is an affordable solution that will make the wait a lot more comfortable.

Introducing the BackJoy cradle

 BackJoy

BackJoy Orthotic Cradle

The BackJoy is a carefully designed sitting cradle shaped a bit like those metal pan seats you used to see on 1940s farm tractors. However that's where the similarity ends. Made from flexible urethane foam its cleverly contoured shape forces you to sit properly on your sitz bones as nature intended.

It's very simple to use. You sit on top of it and use the handle at the front to pull it in snug. Finally you ‘skootch' into position by lifting your weight slightly and slide your buttocks to the rear of the seat. What you will find is that it cradles your pelvis and properly aligns your sitting posture so that your spine is correctly aligned. When you are using the BackJoy you can feel it moving to support you as you move in your chair. It removes the problem of your weight being concentrated on your sacrum and coccyx which causes your back to round and slump.

It works well with any seat and is good for hard seats. So if you have a worn out office chair with flattened foams a BackJoy is going make a big difference to your sitting comfort. And as it only costs $40 it makes so much more sense than buying another crappy chair.

Let's recap on what we've covered here:

  • Cheap office chairs for a $100 or less lack the features to provide lasting comfort
  • Cheap chairs conceal low quality components which quickly wear out
  • To get a proper office chair you need to spend upwards of $350
  • It far better to save for a quality replacement chair instead of buying another bad chair
  • A BackJoy cradle is an affordable solution when you're stuck with an uncomfortable chair

Here's where you can find out more about the BackJoy and read what users are saying about it. And if you do decide to replace your chair here's a summary of some quality office chairs worth investigating further.

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Why Is Selecting The Right Office Chair Mechanism So Important? The Function Factor

So what’s the big deal with an office chair mechanism?

Imagine you had a large lawn that needed to be mowed every week in summer, it’s unlikely you would use a push mower. Its lack of flexibility would make your task unbearable as you huffed and puffed cutting it.

Well the wrong mechanism can easily land you in a similar situation and make your working day intolerable.

In this article we’re going to take a look at what controls every office chair – the chair mechanism.

Here are the 3 areas we're focusing on:

  • What exactly is an office chair mechanism?
  • What functions on an office chair mechanism are vital?
  • What types of office chair mechanisms should you avoid?

Let's begin with the mechanism itself, the chair's gearbox.

What exactly is an office chair mechanism?

office chair mechanism

Office Chair Mechanism On Underside Of HÅG Chair

The mechanism is the heart of any office chair, quite simply it is the means by which the core functions of your chair are controlled.

It’s mounted underneath the chair seat and because it’s hidden from view most people never give it a second thought.

Which is just as well because they can look pretty strange.

Seating manufacturers generally do a pretty poor job in explaining what the different functions of a mechanism are for. They assume that because they know what the various types do that there is no need to explain things to the end user. So let’s cut through the different types of mechanism and look at what matters.

What chair mechanism functions must you insist on?
Mechanisms come with all sorts of features, some are essential and some are useless. Very often the things you need for flexible working are the functions most often missing.

Which ones do you really need? It’s safe to say all mechanisms will let you adjust the height of your chair, that’s a given. Aside of this there are 3 essential functions you need to insist on.

First, you need to make sure that the chair reclines properly meaning that when you lean back in it the back reclines too. Often chairs have a lever that locks the back in different preset positions. If you are using your chair for working actively at your computer this is not a good idea because you will soon feel seized up and stuck in a fixed position.

Next, and hugely important the chair needs to include a tilt tension control so it can adapt properly to your posture as you move. What this does is to allow you to set the pressure applied when you lean back and forwards in your chair. Quite simply it lets you set up the chair for your own weight so that reclining is natural and not forced.

Lastly, and most important of all the chair’s controller needs to include a seat slide mechanism to take account of your leg length. Without it short built users can find themselves perched on the edge of the seat unable to rest their back on the seat’s back.

Taller people have the opposite problem. Their legs overhang the seat edge by miles even though their back is hard up against the chair’s back. And even when you are average built things like upper and lower leg length variation still mean you shouldn’t skip this key adjustment.

What types of office chair mechanisms should you avoid?
Steer clear of any mechanism which only has a single lever control. It’s lack of flexibility will quickly drive you nuts, because all you will be able to do is raise and lower your seat and if you're lucky lean back to a limited degree.

And don't fall for chairs that come with more levers and knobs than you might find on an airliner. Lots of controls don't automatically lead to flexibility and comfort, the right controls are what matter.

So, make sure it does what you need. Don't assume because it has loads of paddles and buttons it must be OK, always check.

Here are the key points we’ve covering in this article:

  • What exactly is an office chair mechanism?
  • Why certain functions on an office chair mechanism are key
  • Why some types of office chair mechanisms are a mistake and should be avoided

Here’s where you can find a quick summary of great office chairs that include the vital functions you need so you don’t end up with a push mower model.

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Why Desk Set Up Is Vital For Working Comfort: How To Make It Interactive

A desk is a desk. It’s a rectangular lump of wood supported on legs that you work at all day. It doesn't move or change it’s a fixture. It holds all the stuff you need to do your work, so how can it be interactive? It is what it is, inanimate, dead and fixed.

Whilst all of this is undoubtedly true, proper desk set up is important for your working comfort, and as we'll see it's not as permanent as it seems.

What is desk set up?
Setting up your desk is all about making sure you that you make the best use of your workspace. It’s making sure that the things you need to complete your work in comfort are all positioned in the right place, so you aren't straining to reach them. I know this is all obvious and yet many people have a lousy desk set up.

Who needs to have a good desk set up?
Pretty much anyone who spends more than an hour or so a day at a workstation needs to ensure that their workspace is organized efficiently. So, if you working time is spent in front of a desk you need to know how to get it properly organized.

How to set up your desk correctly
As already pointed out your desk is a permanent fixture, it’s rather like a house the thing doesn't move once it’s built. Everything that you use with your desk is movable and that is the key to successfully achieving a healthy, comfortable way of working. So think of your desk as your house and all the things you use with it are the furnishings.

The first thing you need to do is make sure your office chair is properly adjusted. Your feet should be firmly on the floor with your thighs at a slightly open angle to your upper body. If your chair has adjustable arms make sure they are positioned to support your lower arms properly with your shoulders in a natural relaxed posture. And be sure you can reach your keyboard and mouse easily too. Lastly set your chair back to give good lower back support in your lumbar region.

Once you’re happy that you are sitting comfortably, it’s time to look at the rest of your equipment.

Next in line is your monitor
Set the height of the screen so that your eyes are lined up with the top area of screen. Move the monitor in or out as necessary so that you can comfortably read the screen without craning your neck forwards. This is very important to get right as continually leaning forwards puts huge stress on the neck muscles and is a major source of neck and shoulder pain.

Other equipment
Now it’s time to consider all the other things you use continually during your working day. Things like phones, printers, scanners, files etc. Prioritize them and make sure the things you use most frequently are close to hand so you aren't straining to reach them.

Visualize an imaginary arc extending about 12 inches from the center of the front of your desk immediately in front of where you are sitting. Try and get all your most frequently used equipment within this space if at all possible.

Finally the things you use less often can be located at more remote areas of you desk, maybe not even on the desk top at all if space is limited. All that is called for is a little bit of forward planning.

This all sounds a bit complicated I don't know if it’s worth the hassle
I know it all sounds a bit complicated and yet if you follow this simple step-by-step procedure it will ensure you have all the corners covered making it easy.

Some simple tips
Here are a couple of simple tips in case you're feeling reluctant about making any wholesale changes.

First keep a note of the equipment you actually use frequently over a 2 or 3 day period. Don't assume you use something regularly you might be surprised that what you thought you need a lot isn’t actually used that much at all.

Second, take note of any regular aches and pains you suffer while working. See if you can spot something you're doing that could be causing any discomfort. Maybe sitting badly, or straining to reach something several times a day.

You'll find if you if you prepare before plunging into making radical changes it should make the whole process easier and help you gain a healthier working posture. It’s all pretty straightforward when you stick the process.

Summary
Let’s quickly sum up the key points we've covered in this article.

  • Good desk set up is all about working more efficiently
  • All office workers need to set up their desk properly
  • Start by getting your office chair correctly adjusted for good comfort
  • Position your monitor accurately so you aren't straining to read the screen
  • Place commonly used items within a 12 inch radius
  • Move less frequently used things to the back of your desk or elsewhere
  • Keep a log of what use most frequently for a couple of days before making changes
  • If you have aches and pains can you spot any bad habits which may be causing them

Yes it’s true. That desk is an inanimate fixed lump of wood on legs however if you don't use it properly it’s likely to be a source of pain and discomfort. Following these simple ideas will give you an excellent chance of good working comfort throughout the day.

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How Should You Split A Tight Budget When Buying A Desk And Office Chair?

When buying hi-fi equipment the specialist I use advises to make sure to allocate a good portion of your budget for the speakers. His reasoning makes sense because the speakers are the final link in the chain. You could have the most fantastic amplifier, however if you play it through low quality speakers you will never hear its true potential.

Setting up your office follows similar principles, especially when your budget is limited.

In this article we’re going to look at the relationship between your desk and office chair and how to apportion a tight budget.

We’re covering the following 3 areas:

  • What is the function a desk?
  • What is the function of an office chair?
  • Which should you spend more on, desk or chair?

Let’s start by looking at the purpose of a desk
Essentially a desk is a convenient work surface that forms a key part of your office setup. In human terms it represents the body’s trunk and it is what your equipment rests on.

It holds the stuff you need to interact with to complete your work. A desk is a fixture for holding your key equipment like your computer, keyboard, mouse, files etc. This is its function.

It’s obviously desirable for it to look good, have pleasing aesthetic lines and be able to handle cables and wires neatly. Nonetheless, its function is largely rudimentary.

If you had to, you could actually get by with a sheet of chipboard supported on a pair of oil drums provided the worktop was the right height and had no nasty sharp edges. Of course it would look awful and I don't suggest for a moment you would do this. My point is that if you are on a tight budget a very basic desk is all you need to perform your work. Where does your chair come into things?

What is the function of an office chair?
Returning to the analogy with your body, your chair represents your heart. Whereas your desk is unchanging, your chair is continually on the move as it supports your body throughout the day.

As you move it moves with you and as a result forms a much more active part of your work set up. Imagine for a moment trying to work in a chair which was bolted to the floor, set to a fixed height and had a fixed back and fixed arms. It wouldn’t be very long before you found it very uncomfortable to continue working. Consequently how you allocate your budget needs careful thought.

Which should you spend more on, desk or chair?
When you are working to a very tight budget, it’s far more important to spend the lion’s share of your money on a good ergonomic office chair. You need something that is going to support you and be comfortable when working under pressure.

Of course it’s tempting to plump for a funky looking desk with a fancy curved top and grab a cool looking chair from IKEA. Whilst it might all look great it won’t be long before you're finding it all uncomfortable to work at because of lack of support.

Much the best option is to go for the best seat you can afford, even if it does look a bit boring. If you have a serious workload to complete each day, comfort is much the best option. And that starts with getting the right chair.

So just to recap what we've covered here:

  • Your desk is a convenient surface that holds your essential work items
  • Your office chair is the heart of your work area and provides support and comfort
  • On a tight budget always allocate enough for a good ergonomic office chair

Just as with a hi-fi system the speakers deliver the end result. So too does your task chair when it comes to comfort and getting your jobs done when working long hours in the office.

Here's where you can read an article on the 5 essential features you should look for in an ergonomic office chair.

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Why Having The Correct Casters On Your Office Chair Matters: Don’t End Up Spinning Your Wheels.

office chair caster

Office Chair Caster

If you plan to win the next office chair race at work you had better make sure that your chair has the right casters or else you'll get left at the start.

And even if you don't have chair racing ambitions it’s important to have the correct wheels.

Does this sound like you?
When you decide to move your office chair do you have to lean into it with all your weight and muscle to get it moving? Or is it so easy to move you have to drop an anchor to get it to stop? If either of these is true, your chair wheels are suspect numero uno.

What wheels does the average office chair have?
It’s almost certain that any office chair you buy will come with standard carpet casters. And that's hardly surprising, as the vast majority of chairs will be used on carpeted surfaces.

There's nothing mystical about carpet casters. All it means is that the outside of the wheels are made in hard plastic so that they move smoothly over most types of carpet. However, using them on other surfaces can be unpredictable.

When do you need something different?
Surely chair wheels don't make that much difference do they? As long as my chair moves easily that's all that matters. Well the problem is if you have carpet casters on a chair that's on hard flooring there won't be a problem moving. The problem will be getting it to stop still. Why is that?

For casters to work properly there needs to be a degree of friction between the wheel and the surface it’s being used on. Too much friction makes the chair difficult to move. Too little friction means it rolls at the slightest move you make.

For this reason casters for hard flooring have a softer facing to give the right resistance. What if you don't want to move your chair in relation to your work?

When are no wheels a better idea?
People who work at higher work surfaces will often go for a chair with a footring to rest their feet on. This way of working tends to be more static and casters can sometimes be a bit unstable. Also, meeting room swivel chairs don't need to move very much. For both these situations wheels are often substituted with glides. Glides are small flat feet and help keep the chair static and stable in use. All the other functions work as normal.

What should you do if your chair has the wrong wheels?
In the first instance contact your chair’s supplier and ask if they can supply the correct casters. These are usually inexpensive with a set of 5 normally costing under $30. And if they can’t help there are a number of online suppliers. Either way swopping them is simple.

How easy is it to change them?
Fortunately if you find that your chair has the wrong casters it’s pretty straightforward to fix. Most office chair casters have a push pull fixing arrangement. Just turn your chair on its side, grip each wheel in turn and pull.

Usually they release easily. Next it’s a case of pushing the new ones firmly into place and they will click when properly located. The whole thing should only take a couple of minutes to do. Now you will be in full control of your chair.

Summary

  • Most chairs come with carpet casters
  • Hard flooring needs a different type of caster
  • Glides work well for static use such as chairs with footrings and meeting room chairs
  • Getting replacements is usually straightforward
  • Changing wheels is easy

So make sure your chair has the right wheels, whether you're a boy racer or simply want to be in control of your chair. This site offers a great selection of office chair casters.

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The Importance Of Good Office Lighting: And How it Affects Working Comfort

When you’re driving late afternoon on a sunny day in winter, it can be dazzling making it almost impossible to see where you're going. Somehow the sun seems to be lower and larger at this time of year and even with the sun visor down it can still be very difficult to see what you're doing through the glare on your windshield. Working with poor lighting conditions in an office can often be this way too.

So, let’s look at office lighting in 3 stages:

  • The type of lighting used in offices
  • Problems poor lighting can cause (and ways to minimize them)
  • The importance of where you sit

First let’s examine the sort of lighting commonly used in office
Most commercial offices these days have fluorescent lighting and initially it might seem that there is little difference between one type of fluorescent light than the other. Whilst these types of lights work in a broadly similar fashion insofar that they all use tubes, there is a great deal of difference in the quality of light they produce. Why does the standard of lighting matter?

That leads us to the problems that poor lighting can cause
There are two issues with fluorescent lighting which can cause problems. The first is the standard of lighting diffuser in use. The diffuser is the cover fitted to the lighting unit and is typically made from plastic or aluminum. Poor quality diffusers create glare, which can make monitor screens very difficult to read.

The second problem has to do with the actual quality of tubes used in the light fitting. Cheap tubes render colors poorly with everything seeming to have either a yellow or bleached hue to it and this in turn affects screen readability. More often than not both problems go hand in hand.

What is the best way to minimize these issues?
By fitting better quality diffusers the light is spread more evenly and in a more focused way, which is all part of diffuser design. This significantly reduces screen glare because of better light distribution.

Replacing cheap tubes with good quality ones will reflect colors accurately so that everything looks normal and natural. Tubes are rated by a temperature scale and blah, blah, blah… Of course it may just be that you are unable to make changes to the lighting in your office, in that instance where do you go from here?

What if you can’t alter the lighting?
If poor lighting is causing screen glare and you are unable to make changes to the lighting then fitting an anti-glare screen to your monitor should improve things significantly.

It’s also worth considering some form of task lighting to help counter the ceiling lights and if strategically placed may be enough to overcome the problem.

Where it’s possible to remove tubes from the ceiling lights around your work area a freestanding uplighter could help things significantly. Uplighters as their name suggests send light upwards and it is then reflected back down off the ceiling and doesn't cause glare problems. Despite these ideas if your desk is in the wrong place, glare can still be a hassle.

This brings us to the final point the importance of where you sit
Even if you have all the right sort of lighting poor positioning can negate all the benefits and still leave you with glare problems. The reason this can happen is down to natural daylight. You should always avoid sitting with your back to an outside window. This is because on bright sunny days the outside light can be so strong that you literally can’t see anything on your screen. The light power of the sun is far stronger than the light output of your computer screen leaving it unreadable and appearing to be switched off.

What if you can’t alter where you sit?
Where you have no option in arranging your desk position and sunlight is causing major glare issues, there are a couple of alternative solutions.

First, you could fit a blind to the outside window, however most blinds still let some light through and so you can end up with streaks of light on your screen. The best blind to use is a black out blind as it is designed to block all light, however they are expensive and a little unsightly.

Second, fitting an anti-glare screen to your monitor would help, however in really bright sunlight it still may not be enough.

Let’s wrap up the main points we've covered here:

  • Office lighting quality varies a lot, good diffusers and tubes cut glare
  • An anti-glare screen or alternative lighting may well help with glare problems
  • Never sit with your back to a window if at all possible, if unavoidable fit blinds

If working in your office is a lot like driving into winter sunshine, use these tips to tackle the problem.

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