How Paint Colors Affect Employee Productivity in the Office

Selecting the right paint for your office walls can be just as important as selecting the right employees. The effect paint has on the environment of your office is huge and this also tends to influence how productive your workers are. According to research by the University of Hawaii at Hilo, visual elements which include colors in an office building can affect employee’s behavior, levels of productivity and attitudes in the work place. The ambiance in an office is by far one of the most influential factors in employee’s productivity. Colors can be very crucial in setting the right atmosphere for workers to feel comfortable and relaxed.  After all, the main strategy in developing employee’s motivation is creating a good atmosphere.

The idea of using color as a new way of motivating employees in the office space is gaining momentum. According to the Wall Street Journal, big firms are using colors as a way of combating stress in the work place and creating a homier environment which is absolutely ideal in increasing employee productivity in the long run. The primary goal of finding well colored offices for lease is to impact the psychology of workers so that they can view tasks assigned to them positively. The following are some important colors that can have diverse positive effects in increasing the productive capacity in your office.

Green and blue is ideal in relieving stress – stress is arguably one of the main causes of distraction and less productivity in any company. Reducing the level of stress in the office space is a priority for a lot of managers and with green paint on the office walls, you can achieve this goal. According to research by The University of British Columbia, blue and green helps employees feel calm, relaxed and tranquil. This helps to develop some degree of stress relief which in turn impacts on productivity positively. In case you are looking for an office, always keep in mind that green and blue should feature a lot on the walls. Blue and green is ideal for a busy office environment

Yellow and orange – the most important thing about yellow and orange colors on office walls is based on the fact that these paints can help inject some energy and enthusiasm among your employees. However, research also shows that orange tends to invoke strong appetite and on the other hand yellow can sometimes evoke anger and frustrations especially for employees with an uncontrollable temper.  For a company looking to mainstream great energy and enthusiasm among its employees, using yellow and orange as paint on the office walls is highly recommended. Orange and yellow should feature in office break rooms, bathrooms or the cafeteria.

White – in case you are looking to inspire optimism then using white in your office should be a good idea. White rhymes with anything and often creates an impression of spaciousness. White can be used in hallways and small offices. The color reflects light quite well and is regarded as a symbol of tidiness and sterility. Optimism is a very important virtue that in most cases inspires hard work in employees. With that in mind, it should the responsibility of any office to find innovative ways in which they can use white in office walls.

Red – the color red is ideal in stimulating brain activity and sometimes increases heart rates and respiration rates. Unlike many other colors, red is actually highly stimulating and it is always important to use it as an accent color. However Research by the University of British Columbia notes that Red helps to increase performance in employees when they get detailed-oriented assignments. In other words, this color would be ideal for an office environment that requires great attention to detail.

Combination of natural colors – the distinctive effects of colors in an office space can be enhanced by combining the main colors with some neutral or natural colors in order to get the maximum effect. Colors like brown, black, and grey are all good compliments to the colors highlighted above.  The most important aspect about neutral colors is that they tend to liven up or sometimes tone down the relatively brighter colors such as red, orange and yellow. In case you are looking for an office for sale, looking through the various neutral colors used and how they complement the brighter colors can be a good start in determining which environment is the most ideal for your employees.

The impact of color in the productivity of employees in the office is well documented. Although a lot of offices have set in place a number of strategies to motivate their employees, the idea of using desirable colors as wall paints is highly recommended. The most important thing is to know exactly what you intend to get out of each employee. If you are looking for maximum concentration and efficiency, there is a color scheme for that. Whether its energy, tranquility or motivation, how you color the walls of your office will determine the extent all these attributes will be instilled in the day to day activities in your office.


Written by Andrew Bermudez

Andrew is the co-founder & CEO of Digsy, a free online platform that helps local business owners save time & money finding their dream office, retail & warehouse space. Before Digsy, Andrew was Senior Vice President & Principal of Lee & Associates Commercial Real Estate Services in Irvine, California. He's a 12 year commercial real estate brokerage veteran specializing in representing tenants, buyers and landlords.

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1 Comment

  1. The workplace really can be stressful and I think what you pointed out about how paint colors can help reduce that is really awesome! My wife works 40 plus hours a week in a commercial office building. I know she gets stressed, and so we try to do little things to make her office more welcoming and homey. It really seems cool to me that the company itself could make these same efforts. A business would be smart to hire a professional painted to update their workspace.