What colour should your workplace be?

Every one knows light has the ability to affect our moods. There are approximately 2 million people affected by SAD each year and we all know the effect a sunny day in the middle of winter can have after a week of dull grey skies.

The idea that colour can also affect the way we act and feel is less well known and it is often thought we just like or dislike a colour. However, studies have shown that different colours may have different effects in the workplace and generally. Colour is, after all, nature’s way of signalling, flowers, birds, other animals and plants use colour to attract or repel. We humans do the same with clothes.

Why does it matter?

In the workplace it is important to have the right mixture of colours to stimulate, calm or motivate.

  • Green and blue can help calm and relax and may reduce eyestrain for computer users. Currently the most popular colour for workplace decoration is green.
  • Red is a physical, exciting colour so suitable for stimulating those who work at night. Pink has a tranquilizing effect, good for the visiting team’s  dressing room, maybe not for workplaces.
  • Yellow and orange can also stimulate and energise, statistically more people lose their tempers more in a yellow room.
  • Black is a symbol of sophistication and power, almost all chauffer driven cars seem to be black as do official cars of royalty, the great and the good. A lot of black in a big block can be depressing and mood darkening.
  • Brown is a colour symbolising warmth, earthiness, dependability and seriousness but too much can have the same effect as excess Brown.
  • Pastel versions of any colour have their effect muted and the way they affect mood is also diluted.

In essence, any colour can be used in a workplace but care needs to be taken regarding the dominant colour and what is in the eyeline of people. Get the mix and balance right and the effect can be dramatic.

Sources: NHS, David Johnson, infoplease.com

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