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Energise your workspace and entice workers back to the office with colour psychology

We tend to underappreciate the importance of colour in the way we experience the world, however colour can affect your mood, alter your sleep schedule and even change the way your food tastes. Colour psychology connects colours with emotions and behaviour, explained Brett McAllen, CEO of @WORKSPACES, a leading Australian provider of premium flexible shared workspace hubs which offer private and serviced offices as well as coworking arrangements. Centres are located in hand-picked prime locations across Australia and overseas.

With McAllen’s background in office management, he explains some of the psychology behind how colours can be used in office spaces to subtly yet effectively change the look of an office, improve the mood and worker productivity – and even encourage workers to come back into the office.

@WORKSPACES is experiencing significant growth due to strong demand for flexible workspaces from a wide range of businesses and organisations keen to step away from expensive long-term fixed lease arrangements. They are also seeing firsthand the key trends impacting workplaces across the country.

Thanks to the work of Isaac Newton, the power of light as a therapeutic tool has become a key area of interest and one which is continually explored and studied to better understand how colours affect human psychology and actions. In the context of commercial businesses, let’s take a look at which colours tend to bring out productivity and create positive engagement,” he said.

Blue: the best colour for efficiency

Blue enjoys the reputation of being the ultimate colour to promote wellbeing and efficiency. According to research conducted by Lund University, a blue coloured room is particularly beneficial to those working in fast-paced environments,” McAllen said.

Seen as a colour of harmony, it can be stress-relieving too; however it’s important to choose the right shade of blue otherwise some people might find it depressing and sad.

The colour blue can also come across as rather cold and uninviting, so it’s recommended to test how the colour looks in both natural and artificial lighting. We incorporate different colours into our @WORKSPACES sites to support different activities and to create a warm and inviting mood. This is extremely important when bringing teams of people together in office environments to create a single culture of harmony and productivity.”

Green: for calm and harmony

Similar to blue, the colour green is seen as calming due to its connection to nature and life. It’s closely linked with positive emotions and symbolises growth, life and renewal, and gives people a sense of security,” McAllen added.

This is also why it’s always recommended for offices to have some indoor plants because it’s been known to boost productivity and creativity as well as the overall happiness of workers. And while the colour may be less stimulating, green can increase the overall wellbeing of the people who work in your office and also helps people with longer focus and attention.

Many people enjoyed working from home during COVID so they could be closer to their garden. Creating a garden environment at the office is a great way to replicate the experience. Encouraging staff to bring a pot plant into the office is also a great way to create a garden environment at work.”

White: for clean, clinical environments

It’s a no-brainer that white is associated with cleanliness; however white office spaces generally are considered to be more boring and uninspiring, so it’s probably not the best colour for productivity and creativity,” McAllen said.

However, white continues to be a popular choice because of its ability to make a space feel bigger and cleaner, which can be particularly a good option for smaller work forces. When used with other colours, then the look of the office and become more tailored and interesting.

Why not invite staff to bring in their own pots of colour to warm up their workspace. It could be a coffee cup, pot plant, note pad, photo frame or something else. White provides a great base to work from and gives staff with the ability to creatively invest in the workspace.”

Red: for active stimulation

Red is known as a stimulating colour and is often associated with power. A statement red wall in an office can be a great way to boost stimulation, but be careful not to overdo it as your workers may end up stressed and anxious,” McAllen said.

Perhaps opt for red accessories to add energy without over-doing it. On the colour wheel, red is the most attention-grabbing colour and is often chosen be companies for their packaging to stand out.”

Yellow: the colour of happiness

Some of the most common emotions associated with the colour yellow include happiness, excitement, youthfulness, enthusiasm, creativity and confidence. It’s seen as a high power sort of colour, which is why we so often see it used in innovation labs and creative spaces,” McAllen said.

Interestingly, yellow backgrounds have been shown to increase information retention, however it’s also recommended to use yellow sparingly because it can cause eye fatigue.”

General office tips

The colour of your office can have a dramatic impact on your staff, clients and visitors. When choosing the right colour for an office space, you need to understand the messages that colours can evoke so that you can choose the effect you want,” McAllen said.

For a less permanent option, you may choose to furnish the office in a certain colour theme and leave the fixtures with a more neutral colour choice. Businesses often choose grey because it symbolises neutrality and balance and conveys a sense of calm, reliability and professionalism.

Colour can be used as a powerful tool to create warm, inviting and comfortable workspaces. The key is to involve staff where possible so they feel a sense of ownership, pride and comfort in their workplace. As a result, they are more likely to want to come to work and enjoy being part of the workplace.”


@WORKSPACES is a premium service provider of coworking and private office workspaces that are strategically located near fitness centres, parks and dining and shopping precincts, so business clients are able to maintain a healthy work/life balance, and not fall into the sedentary lifestyle associated with traditional offices. Offices are located in CBD and suburban sites across the country.


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