Updated: Nov 27, 2020
With the ongoing pandemic, it has become more important than evert create a safe working environment where we can make the most of our workspaces and workday. A worthwhile approach is to explore how colour used in the office has a significant correlation to how we feel while sitting at our desks, and how productive we are.
Psychological influence of colours in the workplace
In the workplace, the use of specific colours can have a positive impact on happiness, productivity and general mental wellbeing. Deciding what colour palette and tones to incorporate into office design requires careful planning in order to keep employees inspired and motivated, whilst maintaining a sense of calm and composure in spite of stressful deadline.
Vibrant shades of red and orange infuse the office with a sense of dynamism needed to reinvigorate a sluggish team, whereas cool colours such as green and purple are known to boost creativity and inspire innovation. Green in particular has soothing and comforting effects, perfect for helping to keep anxiety levels in check.
The strategic inculcation of colours is thus imperative when it comes to designing a productive and healthy workplace. This involves the careful consideration of tones and shades to ensure an optimum balance of colour throughout the office.
Choosing the right colours
For many businesses, identifying an effective interior colour scheme that reflects their unique company attributes and provides a pleasant and comfortable place for people to work can be a conundrum.
Every colour has the ability to activate a distinct emotional response in the observer, and different shades of the same colour can also have varying impact on the human psyche.
An example would be the distinct shades of pink - while soft pastel pink lends an element of peace and warmth to a space, a brighter shade of the same hue could leave you feeling overstimulated.
How the overall environment is perceived may likewise change when another colour or group of colours is introduced.
Balance is key to combining different colours in a space to support congruency in the overall setting. Incorporating spectral colours into area can appear too mundane, making it unexciting for viewers. An effective solution would be to remove one or two colours from spectrum to enhance the look and feel of the area.
Another strategy is to experiment with complementary colours, which are colours situated opposite each other on the colour wheel. The high contrast of complementary colours can revitalise the surroundings, especially when the colours are amplified. When applied in moderation, this colour scheme can stand out without being too jarring.
This is especially beneficial in the workplace, where the integration of green elements like potted plants can reduce eyestrain from staring at the computer screen for long periods of time. As a complementary colour, a red vase can help promote employee productivity by refuelling their passion and drive for their job.
Colour combination is equally important in wayfinding signage design where high colour contrasts is necessary to maximise visibility.
For ease of reading, there needs to be clear juxtaposition between the foreground and background colours. An example of optimal contrast would be the superimposition of white text onto a dark-coloured background.
Reflecting the brand identity
The importance of colour in the workplace goes beyond improving aesthetics and productivity. Given the psychological influence of colour on human emotion, the right hues and tones can also be a powerful tool that connects people to your organization's brand and associated brand values.
Companies need to experiment with a mix of tints, tones and shades before arriving at a unique colour combination that will make their brand stand out from their competitors' and elicit the desired emotional associations in employees.
The workplace functions as strategic branding tool that represents that brand and the company's values. This involves the tactical placement of the company's logo and selected brand colours throughout the office space, with colour as a main driving force.
For example, the reception area is where organizations need to strike first impression on clients and employees alike. Through the strategic incorporation of specific colours in the space, organizations can ensure that their brand is instantly recognisable and viewed positively.
Defining the office space with colour
Colour is greatly entrenched in our lives and can shape our experiences. It functions not only as a decorative elements, but also a tool that keeps employees aligned with the brand vision as they work collectively towards achieving organizational goals. Colour also has the capacity to improve employees' concentration, reduce stress levels and enhance their mood.
To utilise colours effectually, we must understand how different colours coexist with each other and separate features such as lighting, materials and patterns. We also need to explore all facets of colour and apply it wisely to foster a positive and productive workplace.