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How Office Color Affects Productivity

Oct 25, 2012 10:59:59 AM

This article is part two of our series "How Office Decor Impacts Productivity". Check out how light impacts productivity here.

Earlier this month, we embarked on a series of posts that discuss how office decor impacts employee productivity. We’ve covered the importance of good lighting, and now it’s time to move on to other factors....

Color Me...What?

Color is everywhere, and whether we like it or not, it impacts our mood. Color can be pleasant or unpleasant the same way food may taste good or bad. Unlike a particular dish, unless you’re going to walk around with your eyes closed, color can’t be avoided. Since that’s the case, it’s power might as well be harnessed for good. Before color can be used to improve productivity, you first need to understand what color is.

Color is perceived by how white light reacts when it hits an object - whether it is absorbed or reflected. Based on that reaction, we see a color. For example, black is the absence of light. When you see black, all of the light is being absorbed by the object at hand.

Here are the effects of certain colors:

White - This color can be used to create a feeling of airiness and cleanliness; however, it should be used like salt - sparingly. Too much white tends to make a space feel cold or bland.

Green - Typically, this color is perceived as soothing and calming. It can also give a space a more “natural” feel. It’s a great color for spaces that are meant to be reassuring and relaxing (i.e. the healthcare industry); however, if a space should inspire creativity and be fast paced this color probably isn’t the best choice.

Red - This color is bold and sure to grab everyone’s attention. It can really summon a feeling of passion and creativity in a space. However, studies have show that the color red can literally speed up your heart rate. Too much of the color can stimulate aggression rather than passion. Consider using red for an accent wall or for accessories.

Orange - This color is thought to promote social interaction. It may be just the right touch for an industry that encourages friendly conversation such as customer service. Orange is also believed to stimulate the appetite so it’s a favorite among the food industry.

Gray - This color is easy on the eyes. Its a great choice for a space where individuals spend long amounts of time staring at a computer screen. Gray is also a neutral color that can easily be paired with other accent colors. For instance, work in some red for passion and creativity.

Blue - The right shade of blue, typically a muted or pale shade rather than a bold or dark shade, can promote tranquility and focus. Blue is a great color for promoting concentration in the workspace. In addition, while it probably won’t really increase employees’ IQs, it is often associated with wisdom and intelligence - hey, it’s worth a shot right?

There is no one color that is the perfect choice for improving productivity. It really depends on what industry you’re looking at. One color may produce great results for one space and mediocre at best results for another. Its best to carefully consider what feelings you want to provoke and the particular industry before selecting a color. In addition, keep in mind that you should never go overboard with any one color.

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