Colour in the Workplace

It has been proven time and again that colour has an effect on one’s emotions, so it is no surprise colour in the work place is receiving greater attention as well.  Studies have revealed that colour used in the workplace can alter the mood and productivity of an office environment.

Colour has been identified as a key design element, along with other factors such as form, shape and space but it is colour that enjoys the most attention.

According to a study called Understanding the role of color in workplace design put out by Stern School of Business, New York University early studies centred on determining exact colour emotion connections using a defined colour set, for example red, yellow, blue, green, and a defined emotion set, for example anger, joy, happy, and sad.

It showed that while yellow is associated with happiness, gray correlates with mourning and sorrow. The study asked the question why then, are the offices of the corporate world so heavily decorated with gray?  Would it not be preferable to use a more positive colour that would create a more positive emotion.

 

This argument is supported by a study conducted by Avery Office Products in the UK which found  that over 60% of British businesses believed they could improve staff morale and motivation by adding colour to their work environment.

Specifically, the survey found that only 11% of workers ‘enjoyed’ working in cream, beige, or brown office environments while, 88% claimed more vibrant colours would improve morale, efficiency, and performance: 20% said they would prefer light blue, 13% preferred light green, and 16% favoured yellow to increase their morale and overall performance.

Other research by University of Hawaii also shows how colours can have an influence on employee behaviours, productivity levels, moods and attitudes.

It claimed that green and blue walls helped employees feel calm, relaxed and hopeful, while yellow and orange colours can stimulate and energize employees, however orange also stimulates appetites and yellow can evoke feelings of anger and frustration so it is probably better to use yellow and orange as accent colours on walls, or you may face employees who are frustrated or always ready for a lunch break.

Red was found to be exciting although it increases brain wave activities, which can cause overstimulation.  Shades of red can also stimulate feelings of anger and hostility.

Neutral Colors including brown, white, cream, gray and black colours help tone down or liven up brighter colors.

As a major player in the coatings and paint environment, Plascon encourages corporates to follow these design trends and to look beyond conventional white and grey for colours that will enhance their business needs thus helping to create a happier workforce while also making an impression on customers as well.

As part of its National Colour Week celebrations, Plascon encourages local businesses to enter its Most Colourful Workplace Competition.  Entry photos can be emailed to colour@kansaiplascon.co.za.  Winners will be showcased on Plascon Facebook and Twitter pages.  There will be one winner per region.

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