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Asked to turn lights off at work - I need them to see my screen.....

(14 Posts)
deckchair Thu 09-Jul-09 13:09:45

I am a little bit cross (nearly posted in AIBU) about this and before I go back into work next week, I just wanted some advice.

I work in an old building and IMO it is dark and shadowy, I need the lights on to feel comfortable when using the computer and generally doing my work. In my own particular office there are 4 people in total, I am the only one who wears glasses and sits in the middle of the office. The others are either right next to windows or do not seem to have the shadows that I do on their screens.
Everytime I go in I turn the lights on as I need them. If anyone asks about turning them off I tell them that I need them and I have shadows on my screen. The office manager said to me this week "lights, do we need them on?" I said "yes, I know everyone else is ok but where I sit I get dark shadows on my screen" He said "we are trying to save resources, can you have a word with the IT department and see if they can adjust your screen".

I should add that the office manager does wear glasses but he quite happily sits in his office with the lights off and the blinds drawn hmm

I am really cross about this as I need the lights on to see my screen properly. I guess I do have sensitive eyes but feel I am being "got at". I cannot have the screen too bright as it can give me migraines - not often to be fair, but why should I be uncomfortable and risk a unavoidable migraine?
Of course I appreciate that resorces are tight - it is a small company.

Generally the company is nice to work, really flexible but sometimes do make certain issues out of the littlest things such as this and I feel like I am in the wrong.

What should / can I do next?


BarbaraWoodlouse Thu 09-Jul-09 13:13:51

I don't think the glasses/no glasses thing is relevent tbh. Once your vision is corrected you should be able to see as well as the others. The problem seems to be that you are in a shadowy spot.

I would suggest your proposed solutions should be:
1) Try the screen brightness thing - it may help and you'll be seen to be open to it at least.
2) Ask for a desk lamp - one lamp must surely use less energy than the top lights?
3) Ask to move desks...


BarbaraWoodlouse Thu 09-Jul-09 13:14:37

Sorry, just re-read and saw your comment about migraines so ignore #1 but do explain why...

deckchair Thu 09-Jul-09 13:21:58

Thanks - not sure a desk lamp would help as there are no plugs near enough, but will ask to move desks. (seems a bit obvious now!)


BarbaraWoodlouse Thu 09-Jul-09 14:36:42

Good luck smile

Sheeta Thu 09-Jul-09 14:49:03

from HSE website (page 2)

"You and your employer can help your eyes by ensuring your VDU is well positioned and properly adjusted, and that the workplace lighting is suitable."

I remember my boss insisting the the lights in the office were turned off in summer because he thought they warmed the office up hmm. HR gave him a swift kick up the arse and told him off.
Good lighting is a must, you'll strain your eyes if you're working with a monitor in the dark...

Sheeta Thu 09-Jul-09 15:00:31

Oh, and having one desk lamp might increase the eye-strain, as it would just provide directional light. Is there any way you can just turn on some of the ceiling lights in the office?

CarGirl Thu 09-Jul-09 15:03:34

btw keeping the lights off does make your office cooler - had my own office so tried it!

flowerybeanbag Thu 09-Jul-09 15:07:51

Your boss was right that lights warm the office up Sheeta. IIRC I think 90% of the energy used by a 'normal' lightbulb generates heat, while only 10% generates light. Fluorescent bulbs are more like 70%/30% heat/light and there are more efficient bulbs now as well.

But basically he is right that a significant proportion of the energy in office lighting will be generating heat.

Obviously he was not right to insist lights should stay off if it meant people couldn't see properly, but as a cooling measure, not completely daft.

Moving desks sounds like a good option deckchair, but if that doesn't work and the lighting isn't sufficient, you can certainly insist.

bloss Thu 09-Jul-09 15:16:42

Message withdrawn

TartanKnickers Thu 09-Jul-09 15:23:03

Can you ask your boss to do a DSE assessment on your workstation? Every workstation must comply to DSE regulations - this includes adequate lighting.

You, as the user, should be asked the questions about your workstation, and any comments/complaints must be followed up i.e. if your complaint is inadequate lighting causing eye strain, your employer has a duty to address this.

I am the DSE assessor for my workplace and there should be one in yours. This should help re the guidlines.

Sheeta Thu 09-Jul-09 15:23:57

Yes, I know lighting generates heat, I'm not daft wink

Sorry, should have mentioned that this was in a massive office, with a cast iron roof bascically acting like a giant radiator, and 30plus sweaty salesmen all spouting hot air.. just missed all that bit out before I put in the hmm. Whoops.

They were special low-energy office lights as well

Obviously, after HR kicked him (literally) he turned ALL the lights on and switched off the air con. Not that he was childish or anything, oh no hmm

Sorry, back to you deckchair grin

flowerybeanbag Thu 09-Jul-09 15:25:18

grin at sweaty salesmen spouting hot air

deckchair Thu 09-Jul-09 21:13:28

Thank you all - not sure they will go for the swapping desks as the obvious choice for me to swap with has manourevered (sp?) her spot so she can be on msn all day....
Anyhow, that will put the ball back in their court.


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