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For about a year I have the following problem at work:

sunlight too bright

My desk at work is very white and very reflective. There is no curtain. I cannot move the desk or paint it. Other spots are taken.

I thought about covering the desk with a large collection of these. Unfortunately I have to cover several square meters and I cannot find any table mat online larger than about 60x50 cm. Also, the cleaning personnel will probably not appreciate a ton of small table mats.

So, what can I do? Is there any place where I can buy a very large table mat (mat black)? Any other idea is welcome.

  • 1
    Based on the link you provided I'm assuming you are working in Belgium. There are EU wide health and safety regulations in force. So talk to your HR department. They should sort this out for you. You can also tell them it interferes with your productivity as added bonus for them to obey the law. Does not require a life hack. – Flint Oct 4 '17 at 23:14
  • You can use white cloth to deflect sunlight outside. :) – Jem Eripol Oct 5 '17 at 8:14
  • @Flint I don't think my problem can be classified as a health concern. It's just an annoyance---which indeed hinders my productivity. I haven't noticed any issues with my eyesight since I started working there. – Sam De Meyer Oct 5 '17 at 9:13
  • I'm with @Flint here - HR or facility management should be involved. The solution may be as simple as putting up a curtain or blinds. – Stephie Oct 5 '17 at 13:07
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Have a look at non-adhesive shelf liner. You can make it whatever size you like, it comes in matte black (as well as matte white, taupe beige, and a few other colors) and the non-slip surface on one or both sides is great for putting it on top of a functional flat surface like a desk. I use it all the time on everything from tables to shelves.

I like the ones made by Duckbrand. Con-tact brand and generic options will likely work, too. Size options are organized by width of the roll, 12" or 20" (30.5 centimeters or 51 centimeters). The rolls come in various lengths from 4 feet all the way up to 22 feet. I cut it to make whatever size I want with a razor blade/utility knife, and then I carefully line up the edges and tape them with a strong tape like duct tape, preferably in a matching color. Flip it over and the seam is nearly invisible, especially in the mesh-surfaced two-sided grip version called SelectGrip. The non-mesh one-sided grip version called SolidGrip is trickier to align seams, but with a little practice the seams are almost invisible, too.

You probably should decide if you want a smooth desktop surface where things will slide around, or if you want a supercool anti-slip desktop surface where your pens and other light objects will have a bit more friction-adherence. Imagine a playful cat on your desk. While the cat can certainly enjoy herself batting your pens and pencils around on the two-sided grip mesh surface (SelectGrip), she would much prefer playing with your writing implements if your desk were covered in the one-sided grip surface (SolidGrip). As a cat owner, I like to have things on my tables remain on my tables instead of ending up on the floor to become cat toys. I tend to use the double-sided SelectGrip for most flat surfaces.

Hope this helps and best of luck with your desk!

P.S. The double-sided-grip mesh SelectGrip is completely matte. The single-sided-grip SolidGrip has a bit of a sheen to it. You can see sheen details at duckbrand'com and I believe they can ship to you across the pond.

1

You can't really change the glossy finish of your table. You may please try the following:

  • Try polarized lenses or sunglasses while using monitor.
  • You may try glasses with anti-glare coating on it. And such glasses will be helpful while PCs too.
  • Shooting and Hunting glasses also offers a very good alternative.
  • Using dark table top sheets like the ones shown below would help you in reducing the quantity of light is reflected:

Dark cloth

  • If you are not getting table top sheets of the desired length or if you find purchasing it would be a waste of money, then you could purchase a long piece of dark colored cloth according to your need from any fabric shop nearby.

  • Even then, if you find it a waste of money, then you can think of purchasing chart papers of dark color from any fancy stores nearby. Spread it over the table. But I don't encourage using this method, as this can be dangerous when paper heats up to it's burning point.

  • I actually have a pair of polarized sunglasses, but it's raining in Belgium today so I can't test it out right now. But next time when it's sunny I'll give it a shot and report here :) – Sam De Meyer Oct 5 '17 at 9:06
  • @SamDeMeyer Sure, please try an report other solutions too. :) – MANEESH MOHAN Oct 5 '17 at 9:39
  • Ok, so now it's sunny and I tried the polarized glasses. Unfortunately my screen is completely black when looking through these glasses. I can only see what's on the screen if I tilt my head 90 degrees to the left or right. – Sam De Meyer Oct 5 '17 at 12:06
  • The cloths solution is not preferable either since it will slip on the desk and it easily collects dirt. I think the cleaning personnel won't like it. Preferably I need a hard black plastic or something of the correct size, but I have no idea where to find it. – Sam De Meyer Oct 5 '17 at 12:08
  • @SamDeMeyer Hard black plastic can also collect dirt on it, as you are looking for once installed-never look back solution. Even if you put it, you will have to make the cleaner angry, as the gap between this object and table's surface can cause a lot more dust to creep inside. But the cloth, because of extrapolated ends and clips to hold them firmly onto top dont. – MANEESH MOHAN Oct 5 '17 at 12:37
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In general, providing suitable working conditions, including furniture, hardware and lighting / shade is a basic requirement companies in the EU have to fulfill.

But as there might be similar cases for other users, I'll post an answer nevertheless.

If your desk is highly reflective and covering it isn't practical, you need to tackle the source of light that causes it.

  • The most obvious solution are curtains or blinds, that can be pulled if it's (too) sunny outside.
  • Alternatively, affixing a semi-transparent foil or paper (think parchment or sandwich wrapper material) to the window pane is an option. I'm a fan of those self-adhesive foils that can be removed without a trace - same material as the seasonal window stickers.
  • And finally, you could use dilluted paint or wallpaper glue or, in a pinch, corn or potato starch cooked with water until thickish. Just use something that is removable from glass.
  • I see people using Post-It™ self-stick notes placed on windows for blocking specific areas from glare and reflections from the sun. Some use multi-colored ones to make "space-invader" shapes as decoration in addition to glare blocking shapes. – Stan Oct 5 '17 at 18:10

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