Can Colour Change the Way we Work?

Did you know the use of colour in the workplace can affect employee performance? Colour provides a visual experience that can stimulate the brain, improving productivity and lifting our mood.

Deciding on the best colour scheme for your workplace needs careful consideration in order to have a positive effect on employee emotions, mood and attitude. The aim is to create a comfortable ambience that keeps the workforce motivated, but without losing their calmness.

Office layout

What effects do colours have?

A workplace painted in bold, bright colours, such as oranges and reds, will spur dynamism in the office. Cooler colours, such as greens and blues, are more relaxing, so will help staff to keep composed and stress-free.

Before starting to decorate your workplace, analyse and devise an interior colour scheme that balances a mix of both bright and cool colours.

While red seems exciting, too much can over-stimulate the brain, so it’s best used as an accent colour, rather than a main hue. Similarly, orange is associated with activity, but is too bright to be the main colour on the walls.

Use yellow in moderation, as although it can promote optimism, its extreme brightness can also be too much in large doses and can make employees feel anxious.

The staple of many office colour schemes is blue. It is considered to be an intellectual colour that spurs thinking and creativity. According to surveys, blue is the world’s favourite colour. It is universally regarded as calming and stable, so it’s no surprise that a lot of offices incorporate blue into their colour scheme.

Green is another popular office colour for its calming properties. Associated with nature, tranquillity and relaxation, it can be used in various shades. It is also beneficial to help reduce eyestrain from the harsh glare of computer screens.

Neutral colours, such as cream, white, soft greys and muted browns, can complement other colours in the workplace. Although they might create comfort and calmness, they aren’t particularly stimulating on their own.

As well as painting the walls, wood-finish flooring and wooden furniture are also popular uses of brown in today’s contemporary interior designs. It’s important not to have too much of a dark brown shade, as it can become depressing.


Research into colour schemes

A survey of employees, published in the Journal of Sustainable Development, revealed psychologists’ perceptions of how people reacted to different colours were spot on. A number of different offices, in several locations, took part in the research through their human resources departments.

It was found the respondents’ age, gender and role in the workplace didn’t affect their perception of the colour scheme. The favourite colour was blue, with 40% of respondents saying they preferred it for the workplace.

Red was favoured by 15% of employees; green and white had 10% of the votes each; pink and yellow had 5% each; and other colours, such as black, were low on the list. This backed up other studies that suggested blue was most people’s favourite colour.

Employees liked blue because it promoted “calm, harmony, freshness and ease”. They felt it “soothed feelings of stress”.

Getting it wrong can have far-reaching effects too. While most respondents were satisfied with their workplace colour scheme, saying it made them feel “happy and energised”, others disliked their office decor.

In offices where the colour scheme was all neutral, without any splashes of bold colour, 26% said it felt “dull and boring” and 5% even said it made them feel “sad”.


Colourful furniture

While the colour scheme of many offices largely relates to the walls and ceilings, don’t forget the furniture plays its role too. Office furniture can make or break the workplace environment.

Choosing fabric-covered seating gives you plenty of choices colour-wise, not to mention comfort.

In today’s open-plan, collaborative offices; made-to-order meeting booths can deliver a dash of colour, combined with a deep-foamed seat construction, to accommodate teams and working groups.

Before deciding on your final colour scheme, get to know the company’s culture and dynamics so that you can come up with the appropriate ambience. To create the perfect finish, browse through the large selection of contemporary and traditional office furniture provided by Let Us Furnish

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