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The effect of colour in the workplace

The effect of colour in the workplace
3rd October 2019

The effect of colour in the workplace

The aim of office design is to create an environment that keeps your employees stimulated and productive but also relaxed and calm. Although achieving this balance is most commonly associated with office layout, furniture and lighting, there is also another — perhaps surprising — element that has a huge impact on workplace ambience: colour.

Plenty of research has shown that colour has a significant effect on mood and perception. In fact, companies spend millions of pounds designing logos and branding with colours chosen specifically to portray a particular brand message, so it stands to reason that the same applies for colour in the workplace.

Indeed, numerous studies have been conducted on the impact of colour on employee mood and productivity. Although not an exact science, here is a broad explanation of how different colours can be used in office design to create certain effects:


Usually associated with nature, soft greens tend to help deliver an air of calm and tranquillity. This is especially useful in offices with poor lighting solutions or for offsetting tension in highly-intensive work situations.


Known as the ‘intellectual colour’, blue is thought to reduce stress and stimulate the mind, and some studies have even suggested that people are more productive in blue rooms as they are able to concentrate for longer. Although be aware: the darker tones can evoke feelings of sadness.


Typically associated with sunshine, yellow is generally considered a happy, positive colour that stimulates energy and engagement. However, too much of it can also cause overstimulation and irritation, so it is best kept to accents and highlights in an office space. It can also be associated with youthfulness and fun, which is great for some companies, but not so good for more traditionally ‘serious’ industries.


Exciting and stimulating, red has been shown to increase respiration, heart rate and brain activity. However, it is also associated with danger and can be agitating, so is another colour best kept to accents.


Usually considered soft and relaxing, pink may be good for easing employee stress and tension, but is not typically associated with formal or highly-professional environments and has been shown to reduce productivity with its ‘cosy’ feel.


Clean and neutral, white might seem like a safe choice. However, as it is highly reflective it can be uncomfortable in very bright spaces. It can also be too sterile and has been shown to dampen creativity, so is best offset with some colourful accents.


Perhaps surprisingly, black can be very powerful in certain environments. A very solemn colour, it tends to be associated with authority and strength, and used discerningly can create a commanding atmosphere that helps keep employees focused. It is also often associated with high quality and luxury — even decadence.

Employees spend a huge proportion of their day in the office, so it’s vital that the design of the space makes it a nice place to be, and somewhere that your staff feel stimulated and engaged. Just like with company branding, the use of colour in an office design can completely change its feel. Ensuring you choose the right colours for your office can help create the right kind of ambience for your company, and keep your employees motivated, productive and happy all day long.

This news was brought to you by Morgan Pryce, a specialist tenant acquisition agent with offices in Oxford Circus and the City. Morgan Pryce specialises in search, negotiation and project management and works exclusively for tenants.

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