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Cool white fluorescent lights are the most common overhead lighting choice in both industry and commerce. They represent a cost-effective, efficient and long-lasting solution. However, cool white light intensifies glare, which in an open-office environment or cube farm creates an unpleasant work environment. Although Occupational Safety and Health Administration lighting guidelines address some issues pertaining to overhead lights, they don’t go far enough for some workers. If turning overheads lights off or moving to another cubicle isn’t possible, there are other ways shield your cubicle from overhead lights.
Cover the area just above your workstation with a removable roof to block a portion of overhead lights. Purchase a roof that attaches to the top of cubicle walls or build your own.
Cover overhead fixtures with plastic or acrylic caps, called diffusers, to reduce glare. Although capping overhead lights won’t completely shield your cubicle, this will spread out and color-correct fluorescent lamps to more closely resembles full-spectrum sunlight.
Remove the two middle bulbs of a standard four-bulb fluorescent light. According to OSHA, this is a good alternative to reduce brightness to levels more compatible with computer tasks if diffusers are not available.
A matte desktop will eliminate additional glare.
- Council of Citizens with Low Vision International: The Effects of Fluorescent Light on the Ocular Health of Persons with Pre-Existing Eye Pathologies
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration: Workstation Environment
- Diffuser Specialist: How Diffusers Eliminate The Awful Glare Of Fluorescent Lights
Based in Green Bay, Wisc., Jackie Lohrey has been writing professionally since 2009. In addition to writing web content and training manuals for small business clients and nonprofit organizations, including ERA Realtors and the Bay Area Humane Society, Lohrey also works as a finance data analyst for a global business outsourcing company.