I suppose there were no alternatives in those days beyond disconnecting some of the bulbs. Today, there are filters like those sold by Make Great Light that can customize and adjust fluorescent lighting to create a more pleasant and productive environment.
People who work and live in full-spectrum natural light are less likely to encounter health issues such as depression or seasonal affective disorder. Experts say natural light also reduces stress and anxiety and problems caused by sleep disruption.
Unlike expensive full-spectrum bulbs, the fluorescent light filters can be used with standard fluorescent bulbs. The tubes slip over the bulbs and can be reused when a bulb is replaced. The filter sheets can be cut to lay over clear plastic panels that cover bare bulbs. Both are designed to function as filters for office lighting and as classroom light filters.
For more details, check out the video below, visit the Make Great Light website and check out the posts @MakeGreatLight on Twitter.