To consider the effect of colours in the workplace is something a lot of us have heard of, but the majority don’t understand. I must confess to being in that majority. However, there are a few simple concepts to start the thought process and you can always dig deeper with a bit of time. Colours don’t just change how we feel but can influence productivity, customer experiences, and creativity. With clever and strategic use of colours it is possible to subconsciously influence how we feel, work and react. Jeff Pachenpan of Strong Project covered more below
Colour enriches our lives in both subtle and powerful ways. We get an instant feel of a room as soon as we enter it, and that feeling can be anything from cosy to clinical, or from peppy to calm. The office is no different. Smart employers understand that colour schemes in the work environment can have a profound impact on the mood and productivity of their workers as well as the comfort of clients.
By far cited as the “favourite,” blue is one of the most productive colours you can choose for your colour scheme. With a wide variety of shades, it can be vibrant or soothing and can have a calming influence on a hectic environment. However, some shades of blue can come across as sad or cold, so balancing them out with warm tones or complimenting those blues with contrasting shades of brown or green keeps them on a spectrum that’s appealing to everyone.
The colour of nature, of fresh air and plant life, green is associated with growth and renewal and has been correlated to broader thinking and creativity. For the office environment where inspiration is key, green can feed the impulse of innovation and forward momentum. Softer shades of green also have the same calming effect as blue and can reduce anxiety and promote balance. Green has the added benefit of being easy on fatigued eyes.
The colour of vibrancy, red has remarkable energizing properties. It has the added benefit of being a warm colour, which enriches an environment and gets the blood flowing–literally. Studies show increased blood flow, boosted heart rate, and more brain wave activity. There is a balance to be struck, however. Red is also the colour of hostility as well as having an increasing effect on appetite. Too much red, and your bright and energetic team can be influenced toward competition rather than collaboration, and they may feel the need to snack more frequently.
The colour of sunshine and fun, yellow promotes cheer. Another good colour for creativity, yellow can fuel optimism and innovation. For people who need a peppy place to work, yellow is a good choice, even if, like red, it can make employees hungry. (Have you noticed McDonald’s colours are red and yellow for a reason?)
Often associated with wanting to remain low-key and go unnoticed, brown is actually a wonderful colour for steadfast strength and professionalism. A warm shade of brown is a fantastic backdrop to a more vibrant colour like red or teal green, toning down some of the brightness of many colours that can overwhelm in high concentrations. Brown doesn’t have to be stodgy or darken a room. After all, it’s the backdrop Mother Nature chose for her greens and blues.
Surprised? Pink has had enough of a calming effect on some that prisons often use it in attempts to diffuse aggressive behavior. Because of it’s bright possibilities and relationship to red, pink is also the colour of energy and happiness, without that pesky snacky feeling. Whether used on walls or as an accent, pink can bring focused energy not many other colours can pull off.
Despite having a clean, modern appeal, white has its definite drawbacks. As a cool colour, it’s got a reputation for being cold and clinical. Too monochromatic, and people find themselves reflecting on things that aren’t as productive to the job, and white can actually make employees more prone to errors. But don’t entirely discount white. When used as an accent colour, it can diffuse the brighter colours on the spectrum and add a softness not often seen when white stands on its own.
Often associated with depression or blandness, grey is not a great colour for the overall scheme of an office. However, like brown, it offers a great contrast to bright colours or can tone down a busy multi-hued scheme. Too much, and it’s oppressive, but in the right amount, it’s the perfect anchor to an otherwise overly bright environment to help soothe fatigued eyes and frayed nerves.
Incorporating your brand in your office is becoming increasingly important to employers in every industry, but if the colours of your brand are not conducive to the working environment, you could do more harm than good. Instead, when considering colors, ask yourself the type of feeling you wish to invoke, and choose the colour palette that matches that, and incorporate your brand in more textural, artistic, or subtle ways that work with your employees, not against them.