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How Colour can Boost Workplace Productivity

This time of year sees a lot of change, you'll notice the pavements have developed a carpet of fallen leaves and the coffee shops are filled with the aroma of pumpkin-spiced latte.  As the rich coloured leaves crunch beneath your feet, you get the overwhelming feeling that autumn has arrived.  

 This change in seasons sparked a conversation at Blue Jelly HQ about how colour can influence emotion and mood. The discussion then turned to how colours are used in workplaces to promote productivity, collaboration, creativity and harmony.

Every design and build project we undertake is bespoke; specific to the needs of the client.  Whether we are designing a completely new space, or working on a refurb, as purveyors of the positive workplace we know colours can play a vital role in employee well-being and productivity.  A recent study found that a well-designed workplace can increase employee’s happiness by as much as 33%!  So, with this in mind, we consider the use of colour very carefully with each project we undertake; whether it is walls, chairs, desks, meeting rooms or the recharge area (an important part of any office in our opinion).  Each area or zone of a workplace can have a clear identity by deployment of colour. 

Delving into colour psychology can be fascinating… colours evoke emotions and can have negative and positive effects on your day, as Oscar Wilde said ‘mere colour can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways’.  Think about the journey to work, when you see a blue sky in the morning, it makes you feel positive, productive and calm- that’s more to do with the colour blue than it being a ‘nice day’.

There is conflicting information on what colours to use in the workplace, but we think it is more to do with HOW you use colour.  Adding accents to furniture or acoustics is a great way of adding some life into an environment or using a graphic on a wall can be a great way to inject personality and energy into a space.

If you are planning an office makeover soon or even thinking about a re-brand check out our guide below:

Red

Promotes feelings of:

  •          Energising
  •          Vibrant
  •          Warmth
  •          Passion

The key with this colour is to use it as an accent.  If it’s used too much you may find it can evoke feelings of anger and feelings of competition rather than teamwork and collaboration, interestingly it can also increase appetite and cause blood pressure to rise. 

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Using red in the above project reinforced the brand identity for this company - helpful for employees in creating brand advocacy and it shows clients who they are and builds trust in the brand.   

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In this project we used red accents in the furniture creates empowerment and warmth in a space that has used lots of cooler more calming colours and therefore gives a great contrast for meeting environments, sparking passion and energy. 

 Blue

Is often referred to as the worlds favourite colour and associated with:

  • Calmness
  • Stability
  • Productivity
  • Security
  • Dependability

It is used in a lot of workplaces due to these connotations and is regularly used in company logos and branding as it promotes ‘trustworthy’ feelings.  It’s a good colour to use absolutely anywhere in the workplace. Flooring, furniture, walls, breakout areas, meeting rooms and in an open plan office.

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In the above design, blue was used in acoustic panels and in the breakout meeting areas.  It was also used on the floor too and on the glass to improve privacy.  The primary brand colour was blue, but using various shades throughout creates an allegiance to the company from employees and oozes stability and productivity.

Yellow 

Creates:

  • Increased creativity
  • A sense of fun
  • Energy
  • Increased appetite – hence why many fast-food restaurants use yellow in their branding.

Yellow is a great colour to use in meeting rooms, break out meeting areas and community spaces.  Similar to red it works well when used as an accent on walls, furniture or on acoustics.

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Using yellow tensioned rope as a non-structural team divider can create different functional area’s that allow more varied workflows. 

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 As it increases appetite it’s a great colour to use in recharge or breakout areas.

 Green

Green is fabulous for creating a calm environment. It’s a colour associated with nature and therefore:

  • Reduces anxiety
  • Creates harmony
  • Creates soothing energy

It's a great colour to be used in areas where people are expected to spend a long time and stare at their computers as it can help to reduce eye strain and create balance between the body and emotions.

Also using green in the workplace doesn’t have to be confined to furniture or walls, introduce green through plants, having plants in the office adds the colour green and the positive effects listed above, but they also help to oxygenate the air which helps with increasing productivity to cleanse the air as they provide oxygen.

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 When used to decorate a wall, opting for a block colour, graphics or wallpaper will create a great environment, especially in meeting rooms.   

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 You don’t have to keep it to a wall, creating a sense of ‘outside’ inside is also a fabulous idea to stimulate positivity, harmony and productivity.  

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Or go one step further with plants and have a ‘living wall’ installed.  This trend has gathered momentum over recent years and looks set to stay around for a while.

Pink

Although traditionally thought of as a feminine colour, in a workplace it is so much more than that, it promotes:

  • Nurture
  • Kindness
  • A calm environment

When using the right shade, it can be used in a variety of ways; as desk partitions, furniture and on walls.

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Using this light pink colour as the desk partition will create a safe and calm environment which will help promote focus – something employees’ value open-plan offices.

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Similarly using pink in a relaxation area will help employees feel calm, rested and ready to get on with their next task.

Colours such as whites, greys and browns tend to get a bad rep for being depressive, bland, boring and uncreative, however, we believe that every colour has its place and when used correctly it is just as stimulating and important as the reds and blues.

White

Promotes a feeling of:

  • Spaciousness
  • Brightness
  • Cleanliness

White is great for opening up spaces and allowing other colours to shine just as in your home.  It works well as a background for colour accents like yellow, red or blue which will promote productivity and positivity. It can be used on walls, furniture and in all areas of the workplace, the key is to balance it well with other colours to avoid a clinical, harsh environment which can occur if used too much.

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Keeping walls white in this area allows the colours to do the talking. This should be an area of energy, productivity and trust, plus it has an open feel with a feeling of lots of natural light flooding in.

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This meeting room allows the feature wall and carpet to do the talking, whilst giving the colours space to breathe by including white furniture and a white wall.

 Grey

Interestingly grey is a neutral colour and doesn't immediately have a psychological effect, however, depending on the shade and what other colours surround it, it can be deemed a negative colour.

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The use of grey here allows your eye to be drawn to the logo and the clever design of the carpet separates the walkway from the waiting area.

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White and grey are a great background when using bold colours in furniture.  In the image above the brand colours were used for the furniture to reinforce brand identity, values and ethos of the company.

 It is plain to see how colour can affect workplace productivity and impacts on whether employees have a positive workplace.  Whilst its always important to incorporate the brand into a workplace design, it is also important to remember that people react differently to colours.  When choosing the colour scheme, whether contemplating a refurb or moving to a new location, consider the following:

  • Use colours to zone the workplace, this encourages employees to use the areas in the way they are intended
  • Use greens and pinks to create calmness and reduce anxiety, and try reds, orange and yellow in areas designated for collaborative working
  • Open plan working is now the norm, however, areas decorated in blue will promote productivity and allow employees to focus on the task at hand more efficiently

All in all, don’t be afraid of introducing colour into your workplace, it will have positive rewards to your business and your employee’s wellbeing.  If you are thinking about an office refurb or you need to move to a new premises’, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us, and we will be more than happy to discuss your needs.

 

 

 

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