We know that colors influence emotions. But what you may not know is that colors also impact our well-being, performance, productivity and creativity. Colors can be skilfully integrated into the workspace to create different atmospheres and have different effects on employees. This article will help guide you on how best to use colors in the workplace to good effect.
Colors psychology : explanations and meanings
Color psychology is a discipline that seeks to answer the following question: how do colors affect people? Each color provokes different emotions, sensations and feelings. It is therefore necessary to handle the use of colors with care. Below you will find an overview of some of the effects associated with each color:
- Red is an intense color, that stimulates the body and mind. On a physiological level, blood pressure and pulse increase and the brain becomes excited. Red is often used to stimulate quick decision making.
- Blue is a color that has a calming effect on the body and mind. It symbolizes water, confidence and creativity.
- Green balances and rejuvenates the mind. The elements associated with this color are growth, nature, youth, luck and health.
- Yellow is primarily joy, but it can also cause anger when it is too present. Sunshine, hope, and friendship are all represented by this color.
- White evokes purity, peace, neutrality and tranquillity. It refers to light, confidence, cleanliness and coldness.
- Black corresponds to modernity, power, elegance but also to absence.
- Grey represents elegance, as well as respect and pessimism.
- Orange is a joyful and balanced color and refers to an enthusiastic state of mind. Orange is also an energetic color that symbolizes heat, fire, but also arrogance and danger.
- Brown evokes the earth and environmental quality, as well as nature, simplicity and friendship.
- Pink has a calming effect. It symbolizes gratitude, appreciation, administration and love.
- Finally, purple refers to royalty and wisdom. (source)
The effects of colors on workplaces
The reaction of individuals to colors is not uniform or systematic. It depends on culture, age, gender and experience. It is nevertheless possible to discern a general tendency in the world when it comes to workplace colors, with a preference for blue and green colors.
Use of colors in the workplace
In a flexible workspace, it is possible to use colors according to the dedicated spaces and the known impacts of these colors on emotions and moods, on psychology and well-being and on work. Therefore, red should be used in meeting rooms to improve decision-making, green in break rooms to embody well-being, blue in spaces dedicated to creativity … These strong colors are to be used with restraint, to avoid their undesirable effects.
In workplaces with less strictly defined atmospheres, the combination of different colors via different elements such as painted walls, furniture or office supplies is also possible. Be careful, however, to keep a certain harmony in the colors used in the same space.
Colors can also play a functional role. In offices, thematically organizing supplies by color, such as storage and filing pockets, binders, filing cases or display pockets, can save users considerable time. In factories, the use of floor marking colors is governed by international standards. For example, yellow is used to warn of hazards, red to indicate prohibitions, blue for obligations and green for information or emergency directions. Finally, colors can also play a functional role in hotels or tourist information centres. Documentation can be presented in national color schemes to represent the language used in the documents. For example, French documentation could be presented in a blue, white and red pocket system. (source)
To conclude, even if the choice of colors in the workplace must be done wisely, it is all a question of parsimony. Let’s not forget that the effects of colors, although harmonized internationally, may have some particularities depending on the culture. For example, the color symbolizing mourning is often black, although it is blue in Iran and white in China and some Asian countries.