Using Color Psychology to Boost Workplace Productivity

BY Therese Pempeña Efficiency

Using Color Psychology to Boost Workplace Productivity

It’s no secret that different colors can affect the mind in ways that influence our moods and decision making. This is why color psychology is important for branding and product marketing. But did you also know that color can play a role in creating a positive work environment, improving employee focus, and ultimately, increasing office productivity?

According to a study from the University of Texas [1], bland colors like gray, beige and white tend to induce feelings of sadness and depression, especially in women. Similarly, men experienced gloomy feelings in workplaces where purple and orange are featured prominently. 

If you’re looking for ways to spruce up the workplace, you may want to start with giving your walls a fresh coat of paint. Depending on the kind of atmosphere you want to promote in a certain area, here are some colors you can consider.

Green for Workstations

For areas that are used for brainstorming sessions and other collaborative tasks, green is the ideal color because it symbolizes harmony and balance [2]. It’s also a good color for cubicles and workstations since it reduces anxiety and eye strain from sitting in front of a computer the whole day. You don’t have to paint entire walls green though. Green office furniture and some indoor plants would do just fine.

Red for Active Zones

Red may be your last choice for wall color due to its ability to make the room seem warmer than it really is, but it can actually do wonders for employees that are always on the move. This vibrant color works well in areas that involve physical activity, like an office gym or factory floor, because it boosts heart rate and blood flow. Employees who work well into the night can also benefit from splashes of red in the office since it increases brain wave activity.

Blue for Common Areas

Blue is a low-wavelength color that is universally loved and is known to have a calming effect on people, which is what makes it a good color for the whole office. It promotes positivity, trust and communication, and improves efficiency and focus [3]. Blue is the best color for walls in common areas and shared spaces like hallways and meeting rooms. 

Yellow for Creative Spaces

Yellow is generally a warm, cheerful color but it is also associated with stimulation of mental activity. It arouses optimism, encourages focus and direction, and promotes innovation, which is why it’s great for rooms where your creative employees need to be. However, you need to be careful not to use an overwhelming amount of yellow in one space. Too much yellow may increase your employees’ levels of anxiety or even their appetite.

Aesthetics and personal preferences shouldn’t be your main focus when picking colors for the office. Basing your decisions on long-term goals and purpose of each area [4] might just give your team the extra boost to productivity and creativity they need and create a healthier work environment. 


[1] Work week productivity, visual complexity, and individual environmental sensitivity in three offices of different color interiors, ResearchGate

[2] The Psychology and Meanings of Colors,

[3] How the Color of Your Office Impacts Productivity (Infographic), Entrepreneur 

[4] 5 Strategies for Using Color Psychology to Improve Productivity and Employee Happiness, Spark

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