The novel coronavirus outbreak has forced many of us to transition from a traditional working environment to a home office.
Given how quickly both companies and employees have had to react to COVID-19 to stay in business, and with working from home -- at least part of the time -- now predicted to become far more commonplace in the future, it could be the right time to consider transforming your unused box room or dated office into something suitable for the long-term.
Aside from furniture, a laptop, a camera, a microphone, and perhaps a monitor or two -- lighting is not an area that should be dismissed out of hand. You may want to show off your background (or yourself) in the best light possible on your next conference call; the right ambiance can help when you need to concentrate or read, custom lighting can prevent eye strain, and smart lighting options can be used to inject color and personality into a room you will now be spending a lot of time in.
To view our top picks for home office lighting, check out the list below.
The Philips Hue lighting range is a well-known Internet of Things (IoT) alternative to standard bulbs, which may produce harsh light and have little flexibility.
Smart, connected bulbs allow us to take advantage of lighting spectrums and tailor light levels depending on our brightness preferences, all while being controlled via standard switches, mobile apps, or voice assistants including Amazon Alexa and Google Home.
To get started in the world of IoT lighting, Philips has created the budget-friendly Hue E26 600 lumens light bulbs, offering soft, white lighting. These can improve the comfort factor in your home office, as well as give you the option to tweak lighting levels for work, study, reading, and more.$9 at Philips
Another affordable option are Wyze Bulbs, 800 lumens products that can be used without the need for a smart home hub. Whether or not you prefer crisp, white light in your home office or warmer tones, these bulbs could be a suitable option as they provide a temperature range of 2,700k - 6,500k.
In the same manner as the Philips Hue bulbs previously mentioned, the basic Wyze Bulb only offers the color white, but as an added bonus, you can use an accompanying mobile app to set a timer to turn lights on and off while you are not at home.$7 at Wyze
For those of us who have made the transition to working remotely, our home offices -- perhaps rapidly transformed from storage areas and guest rooms to something approaching a workspace -- might need to be spruced-up.
A desk is only the start as you will need good lighting, too. A permanent ceiling light which looks stylish and, at the same time, professional, is a chandelier offered by Garwarm, featuring six lighting panels that can provide cool, natural, or warm light.
The chandelier can be purchased in gold, black, and white options with rectangles or round lighting panels.$114 at Amazon
Lighting products can also act as modern storage solutions or room accessories. If you have a bare-bones home office that needs some functional decoration, or space as at a premium, the Threshold floor lamp -- available from Target -- is a worthwhile investment.
The floor lamp is available in black or brown, comes with one socket, and stands at 62.5 inches, providing plenty of space for picture frames, books, or a plant or two.$69 at Target
A modern, sleek, and wall-based lighting solution for home offices is the Nanoleaf Canvas, panels that can be mounted to a wall using adhesive fixtures.
Nanoleaf's panels are controllable via an app and can be set to a variety of colors and warmth levels. You can also choose themes -- such as for concentration, a sunset, or seasonal colors -- and you can also pick the speed of color transitions.
The square panels could be set on a wall as an office backdrop, for example, or installed behind a monitor for custom lighting while watching films or gaming.$229 at Nanoleaf
An affordable desk lamp which is suitable for reading purposes. the Ambertronix LED lamp provides an adjustable light panel with five different levels of brightness, a selection of lighting modes, and the option to dim the light via a touchpad.
Available in black or white, the lamp also sports a USB charging port, which could be a handy feature for your home office. Power consumption is low and the bulb is expected to last thousands of hours.$25 at Amazon
A premium lighting option for your home office desk is the Philips Hue Signe, a slimline aluminum model offering Philips Hue's full range of colors, brightness and warmth levels, and control via an app or voice assistant.
The Signe can be positioned to provide your preferred lighting angle so you look your best for camera-based virtual meetings, and can also provide a splash of color in dull office corners.$159 at Philips
For subtle lighting options, you may want to consider strip lights, such as Govee smart LED strips.
Available on Amazon, these strips can provide basic color and lighting options via an accompanying mobile application. While you can pick up roughly 16 or 33ft strips, these can be cut to size and are fixed onto surfaces simply by peeling off an adhesive strip. In a home office, they could be used to warm up a room or provide gentle lighting under a desk shelf or behind a screen.$31 at Amazon
If you are in the market for a dedicated monitor lighting solution, the BenQ Screenbar Plus could fit the bill.
The BenQ Screenbar Plus is a clip-based light that will work with most monitors, providing a subtle light source without adding to the clutter on your home office desk.
Designed to prevent eye irritation caused by harsh light, the screenbar eradicates screen glare and can automatically dim itself to between 500 and 300 lux -- the rates recommended to prevent eye strain -- or can be controlled via a small dial.$129 at B&H
While deciding the best options for lighting in home offices today, ZDNet explored a variety of options ranging from traditional, basic, and affordable lighting to more modern options that take advantage of the emergence of IoT, mobility, and intelligent devices.
Our homes are becoming smarter every year and as remote working is potentially going to become a more familiar and typical working practice in the future -- and, as a minimum while thelasts, a common occurrence -- the office should not be ignored.
Choosing the correct forms of lighting can not only increase our comfort but may also help prevent eye strain and improve our concentration, thereby making it slightly easier to work from home -- a place often full of distractions. Today's smart, connected lighting solutions go beyond the harsh, yellow-white light that was the only option on the table and are certainly worth exploring to improve your office, and perhaps, the rest of your home, too.