The Hidden Ergonomic Risks of Poor Desk Lighting
- Lab tested
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As much as we here at WorkWhileWalking spend time and spill our digital ink on sound ergonomics for the personal health benefits they achieve, very little attention has been paid to the eyes. Why? One reason is that the lighting category is a very broad one to try to address.
That said, it’s high time we did address lighting and the issues that can come along with working under poor lighting conditions. Studies on the subject of lighting are numerous, the ailments that result are quite serious and the solutions are very simple – use lights.
Obviously, that is putting it very rudimentarily. The remote worker isn’t simply concerned with being able to read their notes, see the keys on their keyboard or see their screen. People who routinely work at a desk must battle the eye fatigue that comes along with staring at a computer monitor for eight, 10, 12 hours per day or longer, not to mention the amount of time spent looking at their phone screens. Suddenly, now we all have the additional concern of putting forth a professional appearance on video calls.
Those are two separate, but very real concerns to address, and both can be answered by finding the right kind of light for your workplace. Finding that light and positioning it correctly so you get optimum results.
Eye strain, or ocular fatigue (medically speaking, “asthenopia”), is a very real and frequent issue for most adults. According to a 2018 survey conducted by contact lens manufacturer Cooper Vision, 42 percent of Americans’ waking hours are spent looking at an electronic screen. There are certainly plenty of negative side effects brought on by this sobering fact, but let’s just address the damage it is doing to our eyes.
When we stare at electronic screens, our eyes are inundated with “blue light” as opposed to natural white light that the sun produces. Studies such as those cited by the American Academy of Ophthalmology in their article on Should You Be Worried About Blue Light? prove that people blink less when looking at screens, which leads to eye strain, dry eyes and more seriously, headaches or blurred vision.
To reduce, or even prevent this eye fatigue, blue-light-protection glasses are helpful, but so is improving your work-area lighting. To that end, iMovR recently partnered with award-winning category leader Koncept Lighting to introduce a new line of premium desktop task lights designed specifically for the needs of the modern day standing desk user.
These unique new desktop lights address both the eye strain often encountered over the course of a day staring at electronic screens, as well as the need to put forth a professional, well-lit appearance on your next Zoom call.
[Editors’ Note: Normally we’d be breaking this out as an official product review but being as these are the first task lights we’ve seen that were designed specifically for standing desk users we don’t have any others to include yet, so for the time being we’re just going to review these new iMovR offerings below; if competitors follow their lead look for a more formal round-up of lab test reviews from us in the future. Subscribe to our free newsletter not to miss it.]
There is a lot to be said about the tech-forward features of the three standing-desk lighting fixtures (the Leve, Doven and Brillian) and we’ll start with the quality of the LED light bulbs. Each desktop light offers at least 250 lumens, 3,500k color temperature, dimming control and a lifespan rated for over 60,000 hours. In fact, the versatile Doven lamp gets an extraordinary 99 lumens per watt. Meaning these lights are extremely efficient.
A nice feature about these lights is the wide spectrum between the light and warm setting that users can toggle between depending on their situational need. As we here at WorkWhileWalking live in the perpetually gray Pacific Northwest, so-called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects many of us for a good seven months out of the year. When there is a smaller amount of natural light entering the room in which you are working, the need for artificial light is greater. These adjustable-frequency lamps can help brighten your mood by augmenting what can sometimes be pretty harsh artificial light frequencies with a little more warmth.
Another bright spot with these desktop fixtures is the outstanding positional flexibility they offer. The Leve stands 14.6” tall and rotates a full 360 degrees around its circular base. The Brillian and Doven go further, offering dynamic flexibility in the arm(s) as well as in the lamp head. The single arm of the Doven can be articulated forward and back in a complete 180-degree arc in addition to the rotation of the head, which can be done both in a circular arc around the pivot joint as well as forward and back on a 180-degree plane. The Brillian similarly articulates, yet offers a second arm for even greater articulation so you can get the light shining exactly where you want it every time without compromise.
Each of these new iMovR task lights provide enough illumination to eliminate eye strain and fatigue, to keep you productive and comfortable. If you are also looking for a lighting accessory that will brighten your appearance for your next webcam appearance, the reach of the Brillian may make it the preferred choice. With its 35” maximum height, the Brillian has enough length to reach over the top of most monitor set-ups to provide quality foreground lighting which will brighten your face and eliminate annoying shadows.
For those of you who really struggle with SAD, the iMovR lighting fixtures can help as users control the ambient lighting to add mood to their work area. It’s one more nice feature that can work to stave off depression.
Speaking of nice features, these three standing-desk lights are packed with them, but one last one to point out is the occupancy sensor which employs automatic shutoff after nine consecutive hours of use.
Again, our concerns are eradicating the eye fatigue and eye strain that so frequently comes along with our everyday lives in the digital age in which we now live. Having the right light to illuminate the area in which we work is paramount to solving that problem. The trio of iMovR standing-desk task light fixtures provide the quality LED light to achieve that goal.
Of course you can find a veritable flood of cheap desktop task lights on Amazon sold by an army of fly-by-night Chinese sellers at a third to a fifth of the price, so what makes these iMovR desk lamps worth the premium ticket ($190 – $420)? It all comes down to features, quality, durability and warranty, as usual. From the elegant styling to the environmentally-sensible componentry and quality of construction, these lights may look thin and dainty but they feel completely solid and reliable.
Specifically when it comes to standing desks that are held up by just two lifting columns with their inherent instability, the last thing you want is a flimsy base that will cause a lesser desktop lamp to shake as you type, or worse, fall off the desk as it transits from sitting to standing height.
The iMovR lamps have awesomely heavy bases that add the kind of stability and durability that you’d expect from the brand. While the lights won’t wobble and give you the willies as you type, they are at the same time firmly planted so you can smoothly move them with one hand to fine tune your face lighting while setting up for video calls.
These lamps also come in the same finishes as the most common colors of standing desk bases and monitor arms, so they blend in harmoniously with your entire workstation motif.