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THE BEST COLOURS FOR A PRODUCTIVE WORKING ENVIRONMENT

Interior and lighting designers today pay particular attention to the colours used within offices, they know that people may be affected in a cognitive, physical and emotive sense by the colours that surround them for much of the day.


Up until recently, it was believed that grey was the best colour for any environment where complete concentration was required: from schools to offices and the doctor’s visiting room. Today, colorimetry and colour therapy studies applied to the psychology of colour show that other tones would be more appropriate within offices to improve our mood and increase our daily productivity. Every colour has the capacity to stimulate the human mind and create a specific state of mind.

 

COLOURS FOR THE OFFICE WALLS

It is important to consider colour as an effective tool that can improve time spent in workplaces, providing support for employees’ psychophysical well-being and increasing productivity, and improving the image of the company by influencing the corporate communication. 

However, a distinction must be made between the different work areas: the entrance hall with reception, meeting and conference rooms, relaxation areas and the actual work area, differentiated by whether it is an open-plan or an executive office.

The first macro distinction to make is between warm and cold colours. The former have the ability to increase blood pressure and stimulate creativity and productivity. The cold colours have an effect on breathing and transmit a sensation of calm and tranquillity.

 

- The ideal colours for the hall and entrance –  Warm colours invite conviviality and talkativeness and so are ideal for furnishing reception and entrance areas. In particular, the ideal colours for these areas are red and orange as, in their various nuances, they communicate energy and vitality, the perfect business card for the corporate image.

- Colours suitable for meeting rooms – Green, a relaxing colour that encourages reflection and calm without negatively affecting mental performance, is particularly suitable for rooms dedicated to the organisation of business meetings, training courses and seminars. Recently, violet is becoming used more widely, it fosters inspiration and helps to moderate irritability, and is a valuable ally in the design for a meeting area.

- Colours for productivity – Blue improves concentration and is, therefore, the most suitable colour for the best work results. It is unobtrusive and imparts a feeling of calm and stability, leading to increased productivity.

- The perfect colour for executive and CEO offices - Brown, in nuances from ochre to dark brown, is the ideal colour to use for furniture or flooring in executive and presidential offices, because it represents earth and wood, evoking feelings of solidity, durability and stability. It can be combined with white walls with distinctive furnishings.

 

THE CHOICE OF NON-COLOURS

Despite infinite possibilities, the colour most frequently chosen is white. This is an energising and refreshing (non) colour, but used on a large scale has the power to destabilise and create psychological insecurity. It is therefore advisable to use it as a backdrop and to complement other colours. 

Other colours frequently used in the workplace are grey and black: in principle they may be a good choice, but they have the defect of creating a gloomy environment and a heavy atmosphere. They should therefore really only be used in ‘extreme’ cases where it is necessary to mitigate excessively bright environments. 

 

FURNISHINGS AND WORK TOPS

The latest trends suggest the selection of furnishings with colours in decisive contrast to the walls, to emphasise their individuality, while the desks must be as neutral as possible. A neutral desk conveys a heightened sense of order and this increases productivity.

 

FURNISHING WITH LIGHT

Every lighting designer is well aware that lighting is a fundamental element for creating a productive working environment. Today, LED lighting is indispensable for any solution, and the trend is to favour warmer colour temperatures because they are less fatiguing. 

If the office lighting needs to be improved, the focus should be on introducing pale colours in pastel shades and materials that reflect light: apart from the effect of an increased or reduced perception of space, the use of certain shades affects people’s productivity and comfort.

 

WHICH COLOURS TO CHOOSE FOR A MODERN OFFICE

There is no one-size-fits-all answer, but the choice must be determined by taking several factors into account. Today, an interior designer needs to know which are the ideal colours for productivity, while studying the colour trends of the moment and, of course, those preferred by the client. A designer must also take into account the structural characteristics of the office, and the opportunities afforded by artificial light to enhance architectural or design elements in individual rooms.

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