Unproductive at Work? The Colors within Your Environment Might Be to Blame

Distracted, agitated, or not getting work done efficiently? The colors within your work environment might have something to do with it. According to research, perception of color has been shown to affect productivity and performance.

In one study funded by NASA several years ago, researchers focused on how certain colors impact mood, performance speed, and accuracy in clerical tasks. 90 participants were examined working in three different office spaces. The first office space was monochromatic white, the second office was predominantly bright red, and the third office space was a light blue-green color. Individual responses to each environment varied depending on their sensitivity to surroundings. Workers who could easily block out their environment were more productive in the bright red room compared to the light blue-green room. The opposite was found with workers who had difficulty blocking out their surrounding environment, being more productive in the light-blue green room. The white room generally had no effect on work performance.

In another study conducted by Creighton University, researchers came to a slightly different conclusion. Individuals were observed in blue and red office spaces. Workers in the blue office said they felt calm and focused for longer periods of time. Workers in the red office said they felt more distracted when performing duties.

In general, bright, saturated colors are said to stimulate, while softer, less saturated colors are said to calm. Although each person reacts differently to color, stimulating colors, such as red, may be ideal for creative environments or conference rooms to elicit energy and innovation. Calming colors, such as blue, may be best for high-stress environments to soothe and help workers focus. White is often used in laboratories to convey a clean, sterile environment.

Employers should identify which color combinations are best for their work environment, taking into consideration lighting conditions, floor space designs, and open areas. Whether in an office, laboratory, or manufacturing plant, the right color scheme could help workers perform smarter.

The next time you’re feeling unproductive, move into a room with a different color scheme. Focused?

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The technological leader in color and light measurement solutions, Konica Minolta Sensing Americas helps organizations formulate, evaluate, and control color to meet product quality and operational goals more efficiently.

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