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How office colour affects emotional wellbeing in the workplace

Everybody has heard that colour can affect how people feel and act, in fact, studies in psychology and marketing have been looking into many facets of this for years and it appears that the evidence is there.

But how can you use colour to your advantage when designing your office? 

When you are choosing colour for your office space, shop or workplace, use colours that help you get the best out of your workers and encourage the action that you want from your customers.

Using the right colours in the workplace can induce a variety of feelings in the staff frequenting the space, such as:

  • creativity
  • cooperation
  • energy
  • efficiency
  • positivity
  • productivity.

How does colour affect wellbeing?

Certain colours make us feel and behave a certain way, but the cause and effect of this is a bit unknown. For instance, green has long been touted as the colour of choice if you own an environmental business, and it tells people that you are connected to nature.

But does seeing green make people feel connected to nature, or are they making this connection because years of conditioning have led them to expect this from a green space?

The cause and effect may not be entirely relevant to you, just that the colour and the feeling go hand in hand. But it is rarely as simple as green=nature, so when you are trying to harness the power of colour in office interior design, talk to an expert in interior colour to ensure you are integrating your brand and promoting wellness and action in your staff and clients.

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Blue

Studies have shown that people are the most productive in offices that have a predominantly blue palette.

People in blue environments may be more confident and may communicate, brainstorm and collaborate better. Additionally, blue has also been shown to make people calmer and less stressed and can also help healing.

It all seems to depend on the use of the blue, however. Too much blue, or the wrong shades may make people feel sadder and more despondent than other palettes. It can also make people feel cold, and they are less productive when they are cold.

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Green

As we mentioned, green makes people think of nature. It also makes them feel energised and rejuvenated, creative and innovative, and harmonious and balanced. It can also reduce anxiety.

Green is apparently good if your people are in the one place for a long time because the human eye doesn’t need to adjust itself much to see the green. And it is more beneficial to staff who spend a long time looking at computers to be able to get a rest by looking away from the blue-backed screens.

In theory, if you make the office space green, the workers within it will feel more connected with their natural environment and less like they are in an office. Colour alone is not quite that magical, however, you will also need to utilise light, space, air, and natural textures and features.

Natural colours make people feel more hygienic in a space, so green, especially when combined with natural light, can give the impression that your space is clean and inviting.

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Red

Red is connected to getting things started. It makes people hungry, move faster, and can give them the need to expel pent-up energy. It will also attract their attention. This is why many take-away stores use red in their branding.

Red can also wake people up, heed warning, symbolise passion and help people to remember things.

For this reason, red should be used sparingly, because it may tire your people out or make them agitated. Red can be used in rooms where details need to be remembered or where bursts of energy are good. Red works well in restaurants, gyms, fire escapes and walkways. Red is also great in smaller bursts within office boardrooms.

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Yellow

Yellow can promote optimism, creativity and brightness, but needs to be carefully used as well as it make people feel anxious, quick tempered and queasy. Yellow is not ideal in high-pressure places or rooms where people need to relax and be calm.

Too much yellow is also straining on the eyes, so shouldn’t be used to paint entire walls, especially in areas that are already well lit.

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Orange

Orange can be stimulating and energising and gets people’s brains going, so can be good for productivity. It has also been known to aid focus, concentration and endurance.

Orange may also make your staff kind of hungry though, so you may want to have a fruit bowl or snack machine around the place.

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Combine colours cleverly

What all of this tells us is don’t rely too much on one colour. You shouldn’t paint every surface blue or green or orange because not everybody can cope with the assault of one colour all the time. Too much of anything will produce negative feelings and will drain your staff rather than help them to be productive.

Colour may work best when it is offset by natural or neutral colours such as white, beige or the prettier tones of grey. It also works well when broken up by natural finishes such as wood or stone surfaces.

The cleverest use of colour is a combination of what energises your staff, what invites your customers, and what best expresses the personality of your business. This will usually involve more than one colour and utilises intelligent injections of contrast, pattern, nature and texture to create your most productive and prosperous office space.

And for the cleverest use of colour, consult an expert in how it works so that you use colour to promote and encourage wellbeing in your staff and patrons. Give Interior Flow a call to discuss interior options best suited to your business.

Krystal Sagona

With over 10 years experience as a residential & commercial Interior Designer, Krystal has built a strong reputation in the design industry. Award winning designer and highly intuitively creative, Krystal has the innate ability to understand and deliver your creative brief. Krystal is a registered Draftsperson with the Victorian Building Board and a qualified Feng Shui consultant with the AFSC (Association of Feng Shui Consultants) International.