How Office Wall Color Affects Work Productivity

Study after study consistently shows that office wall color impacts productivity, employee satisfaction, and branding. Since 2013, the revolutionary Emagispace® brand has been a leader in transforming office spaces for big players like SONY, Revlon, Summit Surgical, and Colorado College to swiftly boost productivity in a big way, without breaking the bank. You can think of our walls as “Legos for adults” – they’re that simple to install! Our durable office walls go up in one-tenth the time at half the cost of a full scale redesign, and can be wrapped in a variety of colors or textures to instantly lift the mood and morale of your employees. Within a week’s time, you can break up a dysfunctional open concept office layout to create privacy pods, team work spaces, enclosed offices, meeting nooks, and task-oriented booths that minimize noise, distractions, and disruptions.

Color is one crucial component that can bring your office into the modern era with a winning design that boosts your bottom line.

How office wall color impacts mood 

Office wall color impacts how we feel at work. Here’s what researchers at the University of Nebraska found:

Warm red, orange, or yellow

These colors make employees feel warm, cheerful, energetic, creative, and productive. These colors were perceived as best for environments that require speed and efficiency, such as fast food restaurants. On the downside, warm tones can also make a room feel smaller, while hindering cooperation and focus. Therefore, warm colors are not recommended for open offices or team-centered workplaces. Yellow tends to get a bad rap, but Leatrice Eisman of the Pantone Color Institute has found that people associate the color of the sun with “warmth,” “cheer,” “happiness,” “playfulness,” and “enlightenment.” Using pops of cheery yellow can be particularly helpful in Northern climates during the winter when Seasonal Affective Mood Disorder is widespread.

Cool green, blue, or purple

These colors make employees feel calmer, more focused, and positive. Spaces seem larger, airier, and more relaxing, which is ideal for high-stress environments. Cool elements also foster creativity and teamwork, well suited for design or advertising firms. Too much blue, however, can leave workers feeling fatigued, depressed, or overly relaxed, therefore slowing productivity. Ultra-Violet is Pantone’s 2018 “Color of the Year” for its evocation of mindfulness, spirituality, counterculture, unconventionality, refuge, and artistic brilliance.

What are the best office colors for productivity?

A 2009 University of British Columbia study of 600 people determined:

  • Red is best for tasks involving recall, attention to detail, spelling, punctuation, and remembering words.
  • Blue is best for invention, imagination, brainstorming, and coming up with new solutions.

According to a report by Human Spaces, offices that include natural textures, patterns, and materials:

  • Increase productivity by 8 percent.
  • Increase feelings of well-being by 13 percent.

Adding plants, glass partitions, better lighting, natural lighting, furniture, artwork, and wall coverings can all help bring nature indoors. Some of the most popular skins for Emagispace walls have been wood – be it multidimensional accents, narrow plank bamboo, rustic distressed, reclaimed white-gray weathered panels, or robin’s egg blue-painted wood.

Room color impacts perception of temperature, with warmer colors making people feel hotter and cooler colors making people feel cooler, according to Sally Augustin Ph.D., an environmental psychologist and internationally recognized expert on person-centered design. She advises businesses in warmer climates to go cool and vice-versa to save on HVAC expenses. She also recommends:

  • Green for businesses that involve nature and growth.
  • Red for businesses that require quick bursts of analytical thinking.
  • Blue for businesses seeking a widely accepted color that satisfies the majority.
  • Orange for businesses looking to promote favorable values.
  • Pink for businesses that want to calm employees, like lawyers in mediation or high stakes board rooms.

She says to avoid white, which allows minds to wander – and yellow, which people generally dislike.

Mariana Figueiro, professor at the Lighting Research Center in Troy, NY, measured biomarkers like brain activity, performance type, reaction time, and alertness. Her precise research found:

  • A 460 nanometer saturated blue affected the circadian rhythm by simulating daytime sky light, which is especially good for increasing alertness in night shift workers. Blues help people in stressful environments or on stressful schedules relax.
  • A 640 nanometer saturated red had a strong alerting effect, without decreasing melatonin as blue light does, which worked “like drinking a cup of coffee.” Bright colors like red can spark ideas, build energy, and foster excitement.

Good office colors can be bold!

A 2012 study looking at the psychological effects of color in hospital settings found that stark white walls were strongly associated with a “clinical appearance” that intimidated people. A similar University of Texas study from 2007 concluded that bland beige, gray, and white offices evoked feelings of sadness and depression, particularly in women. They also found that men felt gloomy working in purple and orange rooms. On the opposite end of the spectrum, an overabundance of vibrant color can strain the eyes and fatigue the mind.

Color is not an “all or nothing” proposition. There are many ways to combine the use of different colors in ways that foster the right moods and level of engagement. The best work spaces start with neutral bases like grays, taupes, or softer hues. Pops of accent color appear in artwork, furniture, plant pots, or signage around the room to provide just enough saturation to intrigue, without exhausting the mind. Bold accent walls are a great way to weave a vibrant, thought-provoking splash of color into the office, without overwhelming people.

Reimagine your office wall colors and layout with Emagispace®

Emagispace® walls can be delivered any way you choose. They can be decked out with TV screens, speaker systems, windows, electrical outlets, art work, shelving, and modular seating. Use them for accents, dividers, displays, reception areas, break rooms, or new functional spaces. The colors and custom wraps are easily switched as times or demands evolve. Prices start as low as $1,500 for a 10 x 10 foot wall. Contact us to learn more!

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