Primary Colors: The Optimal Office Hues for Productivity

 
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By Hannah Woit

First impressions are powerful. But we may not be thinking about one of the greatest factors of that initial assessment. For example, a study out of the University of Winnipeg found that one quality determines about 62-90 percent of someone’s first impression of a product: color.

Color is not necessarily something many of us think about on a regular basis, but hues are powerful. Just like the aroma tickling your nose impacts your mood, the colors in your surroundings may affect how you feel and act, in general and about certain things.

So, what does this mean for work? According to research review from the University of Texas at Austin’s School of Architecture, it depends on two things: your goals and the makeup of your team.

 

Going for the Gold--Goals:

  • Tackling a detail-oriented project: You should be seeing red (literally, not figuratively!).

  • Working on getting your creative juices flowing: Opt for blue.

  • Completing a task where accuracy is top priority: Go for darker shades of blue, red, green, or purple rather than lighter tones.

  • Creating a place where people feel less distracted by their surroundings and where they enjoy working: White is the way to go.

  • Cultivating job satisfaction: Blue-green is your best bet.

 

The Eyes of the Beholders--Your Team:

  • The degree to which each person is sensitive to his or her surroundings also mediates the impact of color on work performance.

  • For those more affected by how the office looks around them, blue-green colors are better than red, but predominantly white offices are optimal.

  • For those who tend to filter out the effects of their environment, red can boost their work more than blue-green.

You don’t have to paint your office walls (or even have office walls!) to take advantage of color’s power. In fact, since the likelihood that everyone’s goals and sensitivity to their surroundings are uniform is low, the best way to tap into this is to ensure that you and your coworkers are able to personalize your workspaces to your own liking with desk accessories such as desk pads and notebooks.

Think beyond your office walls and you’re golden!