Effective lighting for productive working from home

Most people think lights are all the same – but different light intensities, colours and sources have very different impacts on the human body. A sophisticated combination of light source, colour and luminous efficacy can be used to develop a customised lighting concept, which can be adjusted depending on your activity and requirements. 

Incorporating suitable sources of light in their office at home is a challenge for many employees and getting the lighting right is vital for efficient working. Appropriate lighting not only creates a pleasant environment, but also helps boost concentration and performance. 

Lux, lumen and Kelvin: what's the difference?

  1. Lux is a measurement of how much light (or luminous flux) falls on the illuminated surface. In other words, lux measures illumination intensity.
  2. Lumen is the measurement of luminous flux. The number of lumen for a lamp specifies the output in the visible area and thus indicates the overall luminous efficacy.
  3. The light colour is indicated in Kelvin. The lower the Kelvin number, the warmer the colour of the light.

There are statutory regulations for optimal office lights.

To ensure optimal lighting conditions in an office, you can consult the German Occupational Safety Act Sections 3 and 5. This act requires employers to check workplace lighting at regular intervals. This protects the health of employees.

According to the statutory guidelines, optimal workplace illumination is 500 lux, for the surrounding area this is 300 lux and for background lighting 100 lux. These guideline values can be used to help design optimal lighting for your office at home.

Good lighting management for working from home: six tips for correct illumination in a study

Today's light management systems work efficiently to facilitate desk work. In this context, great importance is attached to the light colour. Workplace lighting is crucial to provide optimal illumination for the room. Various appliances and lamps can be used to adapt the interior to the prevailing natural light. These include:

Daylight sensors: These sensors adjust the artificial lighting depending on the natural ambient light conditions. In comparison with outdated lamps, this can save up to 80% of energy costs – without any loss of light quality.

Motion sensors: These only illuminate a room if someone is inside, and they turn off automatically when the area is unoccupied.

Lighting control: Modern control systems allow you to adjust brightness, light colour and the temperature of the basic lighting in Kelvin. The human centric lighting concept (HCL) links workplace lighting output to individual well-being.

Windows: Natural light has a positive impact on our performance and ability to concentrate.

1. Tip: Make the most of daylight

The influence of ambient light on human visual performance is linked to circadian rhythms. The biological impact of light over the course of the day is in turn linked to our internal body clock. This controls our performance through the influence of metabolic processes. Melatonin secretion is linked both to circadian and seasonal rhythms. Insufficient light during particular seasons can result in so-called seasonal affective disorder (SAD), sometimes known as "winter depression".

Workplace design and the use of natural light are reliant on the relationship between the window façade and the living area. Your desk should be positioned sideways next to the window. Particularly in winter, a daylight lamp is an excellent way to meet the requirements for optimal office lighting. The WORKLIGHT from SLV meets all these requirements and offers a daylight controller with motion sensor.

2. Tip: Optimal home office planning

Spatial planning for an office area for several people is based on the European standard DIN EN 12464-1. So it also makes sense for you to consult these specifications when designing your working from home environment. The following parameters have a significant impact on workplace design:

  • Office concept: style of office, type of organisation, office size
  • Room design: allocation of functional areas, workplace setup
  • Workplace concept: functionality, ergonomics, lighting
  • Planning basis: work task, equipment, spatial conditions

For the basic lighting of a home office workplace, the artificially used light sources should take into account and support the respective seasonal and time-of-day-dependent weather conditions. This can be achieved with different luminaires. Flat LED luminaires provide uniform, wide-area room illumination. Furthermore, recessed luminaires in a suitable number can achieve a similar effect.


You can influence the ambient brightness in a room in various ways other than simply the size of the room and number of windows. The following affect basic brightness levels:

  • pale walls

  • light reflected by furniture

  • positioning of furniture around the window

  • curtains and blinds

  • workplace illumination with lights

Uniform workplace illumination can be achieved using flat LED lights, LED strips and ceiling or pendant lights. The table, floor and wall lights in the KARPO family are particularly suitable and come in various designs for use in different working environments. Optimal office lighting operates with a colour temperature of 3,000 K and is ideal for a domestic work place.

4. Tip: Use direct light sources through desk lighting

Different kinds of desk lights are the ideal way to provide optimal illumination for your desk. Various designs like the MECANICA PLUS desk light ensure your individual requirements are met. When choosing a product, you should specifically check that the brightness and ergonomics offered by the desk light are suitable for your purposes. Key factors to consider here include the light's colour rendering and luminous efficacy. In particular:

  • halogen lamps between 7 and 60 watts have a luminous efficacy between 15 and 27 lumen/watt

  • fluorescent lamps between 5 and 15 watts have a luminous efficacy between 40 and 65 lumen/watt

  • LED lamps between 3 and 20 watts have a luminous efficacy from 27 to over 150 lumen/watt

LED lights with adjustable light colours are excellent for illuminating a desk working area. In addition, your lights should be flexible and able to swivel. The WORKLIGHT table light is easy to clamp to a table edge, which makes it ideal for desks that are height adjustable.

5. Tip: Choosing the right light colour

The importance of light colour for our physical well-being is clear from light therapy, where colours are used for therapeutic purposes. This treatment takes advantage of different light wave lengths to stimulate positive effects on the human psyche. A light's colours are determined by the colour temperature, which is specified in Kelvin. The following effects can be created using different light colours:

  • A light source with at least 4000 Kelvin produces a bright bluish light, which promotes your concentration.

  • Yellow light has a colour temperature of 2700 Kelvin and is comparable to the warm light of a candle. This light promotes sleep.

The colour temperatures from different light sources are generally subdivided into three groups, which can be achieved with various kinds of lights.

1st category: light below 3,300 K is described as warm white and evokes the light at sunset. This creates a pleasant, calm atmosphere.

2nd category: light between 3,330 and 5,000 K is neutral white. This is artificial in character and has no particular influence on human mood or performance.

3rd category: light over 5,000 K is cold white or daylight white and has an invigorating and stimulating effect.

6. Tip: Alter the light colour over the course of the day

When the sun appears on the horizon early in the morning, the light colour has a different effect than in the middle of the day. While warm colours between 2000 - 3000 Kelvin still predominate in the morning, these change to colder daylight (5000 - 6000 Kelvin). In the evening, at dusk, we approach warmer light colours again, up to 3500 Kelvin. This should also be taken into account in home office lighting.

Incidentally, warm colours promote the sleep hormone melatonin: the lower the concentration of melatonin in the blood, the higher our performance. A desk lamp with different colour temperatures is therefore recommended for your home office work.

Getting the lighting right for your workplace is vital

Getting the right lighting for your working from home environment is not just healthy for your eyes but is also essential for your performance and ability to concentrate. Although it might seem as though there are infinite options for optimal workplace lighting and often at significant expense, in fact you can install suitable lighting for a healthy work environment at home in just a few steps. You will soon notice the positive impact on your performance, for example as you coordinate the lighting colour and intensity to match your circadian rhythms.

What's more, the ideal lighting for your office at home is tax-deductible – so you can get maximum value for relatively little money.

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