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In the last 6 months, I have changed desks at my office 4 times. I don't mind, as it's due to expansion of the company and acquiring new office space and getting everybody settled. However, I truly miss the semi-private office I sat in 2 desks ago. I am now sitting in a large room with a number of other people.

My problem with this isn't with my co-workers; everybody here is great. My problem is that based on the configuration of the room, no matter which desk I sit in, my monitors WILL be facing an open window. This causes a glare on my monitors, and it drives me crazy.

I prefer a dark IDE theme as I find it easier on the eyes, however this just makes the glare that much worse.

How should programmers cope with public office settings? Secondly, how should I cope with my specific problem? Should I give in and adopt a light IDE theme that will reduce the visibility of the glare but increase eye strain, or should I stick to my guns and find another solution?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Ixrec, GlenH7, durron597, MichaelT, gnat May 25 at 10:16

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

You're asking 2 questions, perhaps split them up a bit? The physical one with the monitor glare is probably best asked on superuser. –  MIA Jan 17 '11 at 15:44

5 Answers 5

Open plan offices can be difficult to focus in, especially if you get on well with your colleagues, so I recommend investing in some noise cancelling headphones to really focus.

Also, screen glare filters are available e.g. on Amazon.co.uk that could help with your issue with the montiors.

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How efficient are these filters at stopping glare? –  Craige Jan 17 '11 at 15:07
Back in the days of CRT monitors, I had a glare filter that helped a lot. –  GreenMatt Jan 17 '11 at 15:10
I've seen some that are more for security (prevent shoulder surfing) that narrows the viewing angle and almost completely eliminates glare. I've not used anti-glare ones in particular, the reviews online or in-shop advice, demonstration is probably best. –  StuperUser Jan 17 '11 at 15:10
+1 Noise cancelling headphones are brilliant. –  What Jan 17 '11 at 16:53

Talk to your manager and request a new desk to work at, that you have eye problems and can't work properly with that much glare.

You can download and try out F.lux to ease the eye strain: http://www.stereopsis.com/flux/

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They have already indicated I can move and sit where ever I like, but my monitors will always be facing a window. –  Craige Jan 17 '11 at 15:06
Why invoke eye problems? It's against all common sense to have a window behind when working with a computer screen. Someone who was organising this office screw up their job. –  Mchl Jan 17 '11 at 15:08
@Craige: There's a software that will automatically change the screen temperature according to the time of day, but I can't remember the name of it for the life of me. I'll edit my answer if I find it. –  Sergio Jan 17 '11 at 15:09
@Sergio Tapia, I think the one you're thinking of is called "Flux" –  Marcie Jan 17 '11 at 18:37
@Marcie: Yeah that's the one! I'll edit my answer. Thanks! –  Sergio Jan 17 '11 at 18:43

Please go and talk to your manager that you are being seriously inconvenienced to the point that it's having an effect on your productivity.

In the interim, get a pair of noise-cancelling headphones and listen to some mozart or whatever suits you to keep concentration levels up.

Also, anti-glare monitors and if you use glasses then anti-glare glasses too are an immediate need.

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I don't think this is an issue of a manager. IMHO Human Resources/housing should be aware of such items. If you really dislike the obstruction you might be looking into a 'Don't bug me' sign that you turn on and off. –  Ton Plomp Jan 17 '11 at 16:18

Keep in mind that the "angle of incidence will always equal the angle of reflection." You would be surprised at how well a minor tilting of the monitor up or down might eliminate the glare. Left or right might work, too, but based on your description, even moving it that way is going to catch the reflection from one of the windows.

Other options might include using a stovepipe hat, or one of those crazy wigs you see at American football games to help block the glare.

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I agree with the other suggestions of headphones for music or just ambient sound obstruction. It takes some getting used to but you'll probably adjust just fine.

As for the screen glare, are there curtains/drapes that can be closed? If not would they be OK with installing some, or letting you even tape up poster over part of the offending window?

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We have blinds on all the windows, but every day I come in, they're all open again. Also, the specific window that is causing the most problem is by a colleagues desk who prefers the blinds open. –  Craige Jan 17 '11 at 15:10
@Craige: Ah, then this is a more specific problem. You'll have to work out some sort of arrangement with this co-worker or take up the manager's offer to move to another desk where you will be working with someone who's OK with having the blinds closed. –  FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Jan 17 '11 at 15:11
@Craige: Or find another job where you don't have blinds behind you. –  NotMe Jan 17 '11 at 22:02

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