Thursday, 22 May 2014

Why You Need Colour in Your Office (And How to Get It)

Offices are a peculiar environment.  Unlike our partners and friends, people do not get to choose their colleagues (usually).  And unlike our homes, employees do not choose the environment they work within.  Most offices and colleagues are simply handed to employees.  And they are often told to make the most of it.

These offices are meant to be both functional and enjoyable (as rather staid working environments often lead to high employee turnover).  There are things employers can do to improve both facets of an office, and indeed, these do not need to cost a fortune.  Usually, one goes hand in hand with the other; it is just about making considered choices.

 The Call for Colour

People are affected by the items and objects around them.  Above all, people strive for environments that are clean.  Dirty spaces tend to make people feel the same way – and decidedly uncomfortable at that.  Assuming your office is generally tidy, you have cleaners to handle the hard bits and (most) employees clean up their work spaces every evening, then you are half way there.  (Incidentally, ensuring everyone tidies their desk at the end of the day is a terrific way to ensure positive moods the next morning.)

The cleanliness of a space is just the beginning.  People react differently to the different colours around them - or the absence of colour altogether.  Certain colours evoke different feelings in people, and it is all done subconsciously.  Green, for example, reminds people of the fresh outdoors, and this connects indoor office workers to the greater world outside their indoor space.  The colours you choose for your office will have an impact on the productivity of your staff – it is a matter of choosing the right colour for the work your company does.

Above and beyond the influencing of moods and working styles, colour appeals to the eye and draws people in.  Even spaces, which are largely white and airy, will have dashes of deeper colours, which attract the eye.  Consider the large halls of an art museum; the walls are typically painted a light, natural colour, with similarly neutral flooring.  As you cross into a new room, it is the colours in the paintings (whether light, dark or bright) that grab your attention as they pop in the otherwise dispassionate space. 

Offices with a bit of colour do the same; they draw people in and assist them to feel more comfortable in the space.  Even sterile hospitals avoid too much white as it makes everything feel a little too cold and clinical.  Huge white spaces are best reserved for the magazines. 
How to Liven Your Office with Colour

Once you realise that your office needs a bit of colour, it becomes a question of bringing it into your space appropriately.  After all, too much colour and too many patterns can become a distraction which can be disastrous in an office.  Fortunately there are really only a few ways to bring colour into an office.  Nicely balanced, they will naturally create the mood you desire. 

Wall Coverings

The first thing you are likely to notice whenever you walk into a room is the colour of the walls.  Whether it is a hotel room, and office or even a restaurant – those walls speak to you.  However, office walls are different than the ones in your home.  These must appeal to a wide range of people, and that includes clients and investors, as well as staff members.

Creative areas of your office may do well with bright, stimulating colours, but most work spaces demand something a little more subtle.  Most employees need something, which helps them to focus on the task at home - and most employers prefer focused work rather than the frenetic pace of a trading room floor. 

Try to keep walls as neutral as possible, adding in light, natural tones throughout most working areas.  However, if you cannot get away from the idea of colour on your office walls, work towards feature walls, or a few stripes or contrasting patterns.

Office Flooring

This is one of the best – and easiest ways to add colour to your office space.  Done properly, they will lift the entire mood of the office – and employees will not even realise why.  When selecting a colour for your office carpeting, try to steer away from the traditional grey, and possibly even lighter blues, as these are the most common colours for offices around the world.  Instead, opt for punchier colours that create a vibrant mood without overpowering your space. 

Carpets, when placed in rhythmic, linear patterns can help you to create divisions in working spaces.  Whether it is a contrast in colour, or simply a darker tone of the same hue, a differentiation in carpeting can separate a space almost as well as a wall can.  In this way, colour can actually influence the productivity of an office directly, by separating brainstorming areas from the more stoic responsibilities of your business. 

Add in Accents

Everyone has something on their desk; and it starts (usually) with a computer.  To this, a range of stationary and electronics cover a bit more space, and this is usually peppered with personal mementos (or even lunch boxes).  To unify these items, properly placed accent pieces do the work that carpets and walls cannot. 

Start with engaging artworks, or create colour combinations through deeply hued storage cupboards and containers.  These objects will pull attention away from the myriad of different photo frames and lunchbox lids. 

Remember that accent pieces are exactly that.  They are meant to complement the other tones in the room.  To create a comfortable space, accents must work with the primary colours used in an office space.  If your office already has an accent theme, consider choosing your flooring and wall colours around them.  Otherwise, make sure you have done your office planning and re-carpeted your space with the flooring you plan to keep for the next decade before bringing in smaller pieces as you may find they suddenly become all wrong.

And don’t forget – your office may not be your home, but it does not mean you cannot have a bit of fun in it!

For more information about adding colour to your office please visit the birch Carpets website -