Design for success: the secret of colors in the office

Art - RISD Museum

It has been scientifically proven that color can greatly improve the well-being of staff in an organization. What secrets are there behind color use in the workplace?

Various studies prove it: happy staff has a positive influence on the financial performance of a company. Moreover, there is a clearly identifiable link between the design of a workspace and the productivity of employees, provided that the designs fit well with the work performed by the personnel. Color makes an important contribution to this.

Big impact

Various factors can ensure happy and productive staff. Consider the layout, the decoration, the air quality and the use of (natural) light. Color is a neglected child. Unfairly, because color has an enormous impact on people. Recent research suggests a great influence on our mood, but also on the way we perform even the simplest tasks.

In this way, the color blue promotes productivity, while red tones would evoke anxiety and stress. This makes red less suitable in areas where concentration is required. Green has a cool, refreshing effect and contributes to a feeling of recovery. Green also represents nature and stimulates creativity. According to research, only seeing the color green can already lead to measurable improvements when performing creative tasks.

Second home

Not only nature is a source of inspiration for workplace design. In recent years, the textile industry has noticed that more and more offices are being designed as a ‘second home’. That domesticity is also central to the popular Danish design ‘Hygge’ and the Icelandic ‘Gluggagedur’. Both mean something like ‘cozy coziness’. More and more offices evoke a sense of comfort and a homely atmosphere with warm tones.

Where the trends Hygge and Gluggagedur, in particular, stand for a neutral and quiet color palette, some other trends are just that. ‘The Digital Wave’ is for example strongly inspired by striking, strongly applied colors. These create a feeling of energy that particularly appeals to younger staff, especially the Millennials generation.

There is no ‘one size fits all’ for good design. The effect of a color may deviate in some individuals. The influence of certain colors can also differ per room.

Creating Zones

If you want to get the most out of workplace design, you can divide the workplace into different zones. The individual zones must be tailored to the different tasks of the staff during the course of the day.

For example, a space that is designed for concentration and individual work must look different from a space where cooperation and creativity are paramount. One way to achieve this is the use of modular floor coverings. With the right tiles you can, for example, apply striking color lines and complex textures, with which you can clearly distinguish spaces from each other.
Freedom of choice

By applying color psychology and design trends such as Hygge and Gluggagedur and by designing different work zones, you create flexible and productive environments. The staff can then choose the room in which they think they perform best at that time and for that task.

The way we work changes continuously and that also applies to the design of workplaces. One thing will not change: employers who value design, which improves the welfare and performance of staff, are ahead of the competition.

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