If you thought uncluttered, clean white walls give the perfect environment to get work done, research suggests otherwise. Nancy Kwallek, a professor at the University of Texas School of Architecture, has devoted much of her life to researching the effects of office colours on workers’ mood and productivity. Kwallek’s extensive research has led her to the conclusion that a sterile workplace actually hinders our ability to work, as “White doesn’t help us be productive, and most work environments are white, off-white, or grey,” says Kwallek.
After looking at all the studies available, design group Herman Miller agrees with Kwallek’s claims, stating that ‘colour has the inherent ability to invoke an assortment of moods and even affect the productivity and creativity of workers.” Below are their findings of the colours that can bring out the best (or worst) in office workers.
1. Red:Throughout history, red has been associated with passion and excitement, so it’s not surprising to find out it does indeed raise the energy level. It’s said to ‘stimulates the senses and works great in spaces where focus and attention needs to be at their highest’. Universities take note; red could improve your students’ grades… and your professors’ lessons!
2. Blue:Relaxing and serene, blue calms the soul, associated with the feeling evoked from looking at the sky or being at the beach. Blue can ‘ease the mind and open it up to new ideas. In the workplace, this can translate to increased creativity and better brainstorming.’ Australia is currently in an #ideasboom according to our current government’s recent advertising campaign, with start-up hubs and shared office spaces becoming the norm for millennials to work in. Add a bit of blue to these workspaces and see those ingenious projects flourish.
3. Green:The colour that’s easiest on the eye is apparently green, evoking a sense of ‘cheerfulness and comfort’. It’s even believed to help people relax.” This makes sense, as it’s the most ubiquitous colour in the natural world. To lessen stress, green is apparently the best colour to do it. Fire fighters and police officers face life-threatening situations routinely as a fundamental part of their jobs, which is why they often top surveys for the most stressful careers. Perhaps some beautiful green artwork back in the office will help them relax when they’re doing their paperwork.
4. Yellow:“Yellow is associated with positivity. It’s high-spirited, cheerful, and filled with hope. But be careful not to use it in excess.” The studies show that people are not only more cheerful, but are also more likely to lose their temper in yellow rooms and that it can eventually make you depressed. A splash of yellow could be great for patients visiting a doctor’s office, but let’s just hope too much of it doesn’t turn the doctor into a patient.
So let’s free the world’s offices and their workers of boring white walls. Inspire creativity and increase productivity simply by hanging some colourful art. Why not make that art a talking point by buying original art direct from Australian artists. Have a look here for some local inspiration.