The fire-red paint across one wall of a conference room plays a surprisingly important role in workplace culture and employee engagement. So does the sunshine-yellow couch inviting guests into a lobby.

Colour can define a workplace setting and can manipulate workers’ moods; red has energy and passion, yellow is for happiness & green is for growth and stability.

This can all be explained by something called colour theory. With workplaces becoming more vibrant, at least in design terms, HR professionals may want to consider how colour choices might affect workers.

Associate Director of Drexel University’s Interior Design Program Ada M. Tremonte said “We’re beginning to talk more about people and human performance and behaviour, and how you can actually change someone’s behaviour by their environment…Colour has the ability to change how people feel. It can calm people, it can bring people together, it can make people excited.”

Dark colours are used to create some mystery when you’re walking into a space and brighter or more intense colours to create moments that leave a lasting impression on people who are walking through the space or experiencing the space first hand.

To create a relaxed and calming atmosphere green and with neutral colours on the grey and white spectrums. Primary colours can generate a lot of energy in a space.

The power of colour is so strong that those deciding on colour for a workspace must use care in putting together a palette to ensure it supports the company’s mission and culture.

Colour takes on particular usefulness for employers looking to make the workplace comfortable for employees who prefer an informal environment. Businesses are trying to attract young talent who feel the workplace is an extension of their home.

Quick tips

  • You can make a big statement by picking the perfect white or neutral then add colour where people are going to notice it.
  • Pick a few colours that represent a feeling that your leadership would want to convey, and then I complement those colours with other materials like wood, stone or metal.
  • Don’t be scared to take a risk and try something bolder if your goal is to make a statement.

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