Green is the new black

Or is it? Let’s talk about the impact of colours on employees.

Did you know that colours have waves? They compose what is known as the visible spectrum. The human eye responds to wavelengths from 390 to 700 nanometres.
Several studies show that low-wavelength colours like blue and green improve productivity. However, there are several factors that affect why you should choose or avoid a certain colour.
Let’s look at the basics – the ABCs of colours.

There are several factors that affect why you should choose or avoid a certain colour:

A. The nature of your work

Working long hours? Green helps you through the day, kicks efficiency to the next level and decreases fatigue. Pastel colours are good too and they brighten the office.
Are you a creative pro or a designer? Mellow yellow is your fellow.
Working alone? Pink reduces loneliness and orange lifts the mood.
Stressful tasks? Blue calms you down and helps with focus.

B. Gender, age and nationality

Sensitive topic? Regardless, you should take it into consideration. Women can feel depressed or sad in white and grey spaces and men can feel uncomfortable in magenta or orange ones. Regarding cultural meaning, blue and green are the safe options, but, for example, red can be seen as violent in western cultures and as a colour of joy and prosperity in Asian countries. Several studies, for example, Birren’s from 1952, indicate that blue is the favourite colour of men as well as women. Yellow, grey and white stand at the bottom of the chart. And what about age? The older one is, the greater affinity for hues of shorter wavelengths (blue, green purple) than for hues of longer wavelengths (red, orange and yellow).

C. What is the reaction you want to cause?

Do you want to spark creativity? Then by all means – use yellow.
Do you want to boost thinking? Green it is. Do you want to draw attention to something? Red is the answer. But be careful – a lot of red items can increase heart rate and look aggressive. If you want to use more red elements, choose areas where employees spend less time – in the hall, bathroom or kitchen. But keep in mind that in combination with yellow, red causes hunger 🙂 Just imagine the McDonalds or Burger King logo.

And what about good old black? It is good as a base and to complement other colours. If you use too much of it, it can seem sterile, even intimidating. Scientists have even invented Vantablack, which your eyes cannot see at all. This is because of the previously mentioned wavelengths. You can use black for signs and logos. The human eye reacts well to white text on a black background. Think about it – the menu in telephones, code editors, desktop themes… It is a bold choice for walls also; it can make a space look tight. The Rolling Stones sing: Paint it Black. However, this does not mean covering the whole office with it.

Sources:
https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/243749
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/7388472_Effect_of_color_schemes_and_environmental_sensitivity_on_job_satisfaction_and_perceived_performance
http://www.shutterstock.com/blog/color-symbolism-and-meanings-around-the-world
http://www.joehallock.com/edu/COM498/preferences.html#favbyage

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