The normal human eye can distinguish about seven million unique colours—resulting from our perceptions of light, hue, tint, tone and shade. Colour influences our moods, our work, our memories and our feelings. Therefore, it is not surprising that colour is an integral part of office design.
The right office colour schemes can facilitate creativity and even help boost productivity. Colours also enhance or detract from natural light—another key element of effective workplace design. Let’s examine the importance of colour to human productivity and then explore ways to incorporate effective colour design into your workplace.
The physical and psychological importance of colour
Colour impacts people both physically and emotionally. On a physical level, colour can increase or decrease blood pressure, heart rate, breathing and anxiety levels. Colour also creates psychological effects that elevate or dampen employees’ moods and stimulate optimism. For example, a study at the University of Texas reported that bland, neutral offices (grey, beige or white) created feelings of sadness and depression in employees.
These physical and emotional factors have a direct impact on your business. Studies show that colours influence employee concentration, creativity, mood/morale, output and stress. These are all key factors in the overarching productivity and innovation that drives business success.
How to design the best professional office colour schemes
Because colour can have a profound effect on employee well-being and moods, it is important to get office colour design right. Here is a guide to help you choose office colour designs based on how colours influence people:
Stimulating, vibrant colours
- Red is the physical colour. Always an attention getter, it stimulates and excites, increasing heart rate, brain activity and breathing. Red is the colour of both passion and anger. It should be used as an accent only and is best-suited where physical labour is needed.
- Yellow is the colour of optimism, stimulating and energising employees. It can be good for creatives that need high energy spaces. Don’t use it in meeting rooms; too much yellow can produce anxiety and irritability in some people.
- Orange is an energetic colour that has been shown to increase brain activity by improving oxygen supply your brain. But use this bold colour sparingly. The University of Texas study showed too much orange (or purple) depresses mood, especially in men.
Calming, restful colours
- Blue is the colour of intellect. A UK study showed that blue decreases blood pressure. Both soothing and calming, blue makes a great workspace colour for technical workers and others who need sustained productivity.
- Green is the colour of balance. Like blue, it reduces anxiety. A mixture of cool blue and warm yellow, green promotes innovation and creativity, making it a great colour for most offices. Green reduces eye strain, making it ideal for computer users’ workspaces.
- Grey can make a nice neutral accent in a room of other colours. However, grey lacks energy and confidence. When used too heavily, it can foster feelings of depression.
- White is used in nearly every office. Resist the temptation to paint your entire office white. It’s a sterile, boring colour that doesn’t evoke attention or emotion.
- Brown shows up in many offices in the form of wood flooring or wooden furnishings. Brown provides a rich depth and accent to other colours.
Select the right intensity and saturation
In addition to selecting the right colours, you will need to match the intensity and saturation of each colour to the desired effect. Very intense, bold colours (especially yellow and red) may overstimulate employees in the environment you are trying to create. On the other hand, washed-out, lower saturation colours may dull the senses and fail to inspire.
Put office colour design trends to work for your organisation
When combined with other workplace design elements, such as open and closed spaces, natural light, ergonomic furnishings, and biophilic features, colour has the ability to greatly enhance employee well-being and productivity in the office. Asure Software workspace solutions can help your business make office space more pleasant and functional for your workforce.