8 Psychological Effects of Office Décor on Your Productivity


As we glide into the future of modern work spaces, we see that organizations today are far more concerned in providing their employees with enhanced self regulatory command and solace at their workplace.

This concern has drawn attention to the ambience and design of the office, which greatly accounts for boosting employee’s psychological health and productivity. A study by Harvard Business Review found that the office environment indeed affected productivity. Another study published in the Journal of Public Affairs, Administration and Management also backs this claim.

Productivity of an office workspace can be linked to five variables namely furniture, noise, lighting, temperature and spatial arrangements. In a survey of 2000 employees from different organizations found that every nine out of 10 believed that an ergonomic office scheme increases satisfaction.

Another UK based study in 2006 by Gensler found that an inspiring ambience positively affected employee mood, with 79% saying their job satisfaction relies on their working environment. Here are some effects on how tweaking your office design and furniture can help enhance productivity and innovation:

1. Ergonomically-Approved Furniture Lowers Stress

Office décor and furniture are the pivot around which the physical and mental well being of an employee revolves. An average individual spends roughly eight hours and 52 minutes of his day in the office, which accumulates to 33% of waking hours, that means working at a place that doesn’t comply with ergonomic standards can elevate stress levels, decrease productiveness and can lead to harmful effects on the body. According to these standards, a ‘one size fits all’ strategy should not be used. When considering the new office design, smart planning is important.

Chairs providing adequate back and bottom support will keep the employee from getting tired and a proper posture can be maintained to help avoid developing a killing back pain. Standing desks in offices help stimulate the brain due to a change in position.

Studies show that round tables make employees see themselves as part of the team as opposed to rectangular tables, which can make employees feel more isolated. Furniture style with a minimalist approach frees up office work space and helps the employee feel more refreshed, while a clustered office space causes frustration.

2. Colour Affects Behaviour

Colour plays an integral role in defining how humans comport within a given area. It has been recognized that warmer and cooler colours have an impact on mental alertness, therefore when planning an office’s design; individuals should implement this knowledge to increment productivity. For example red is more to be confined to locker rooms and toilets so that workers spend less time there.

According to colour psychologist Angela Wright bright colours improve alertness and mood while some such as green have a soothing effect on the eyes. A peachy shade on the wall gives employees a feeling of warmth during winters.

3. Proper Illumination

There is no doubt that improper lighting at the workplace can make you a victim of severe headaches and may leave you with burning strained eyes and craning neck problems that ultimately have strong impact over your performance abilities. This means that having an over lit background light glaring over your computer screen or a fluorescent overhead lamp light is not recommended.

An amazing solution to the problem is to utilize natural light which boosts energy and improves creative skills. Yet it is impossible for every office to be lit with the skylight. However, you can still make use of artificial lights indirectly by directing towards the ceiling or side walls.

4. Space Defining your Mood

An open style office space improves communication, thinking abilities and enhances innovation. Work areas with clustered or crammed spaces might make the employees feel as if they are chained to their desks.

Employees should be able to easily enter and exit their work space as well as revolve their chairs without hindrances. Preferably, the employees should be able to have enough walking room to get up and stretch near their work space.

5. Exquisite Decorative Elements Becoming Your Inspiration

Jazzing up the work space with the trendy interior decor along with catchy artefacts provides a sense of joy and invitation to human mind. It is more likely for you to have creativity and productivity when surrounded by beautified scenery rather than tiresome empty walls.

Art paintings with unique features and evocative subjects, which are less text based and natural painting scenes, are mostly rendered as triumphant style for worker’s visual stimulation, thereby motivating them to yield excellence at work.

6. Nature Promotes Your Cognitive Approach

Studies held in 2011 and 2013 depicted that having a pot of plant on your desk greatly ameliorates cognitive attention and productivity. Not only plants and flowers give you a pleasant feel but also filter air from pollutants thus protecting employees from distinct allergic reactions. As plant photosynthesize during daylight releasing oxygen, the office environment remains relatively fresh. Adequate oxygen levels are essential for better brain functioning.

7. Temperature Affects Your Abilities

Studies on office employees have shown that more than half of workers at a work place feel lazy and less efficient at temperature over 25° C. This is mainly because warmer temperature especially in winters provides a cosy environment.

However, this does not mean that low temperature increases working abilities. Keeping the office climate optimal between 16-22° C is generally regarded as most suitable by a majority of workers.

8. Privacy Concerns

We understand all that collaborative working concepts inspire other employees to put some level of effort – thus promoting productivity – but workers cannot work effectively when there is lack of privacy, especially the “sound privacy”. Employees find it quite intimidating to talk in front of entire office staff.

To aid your employees, make sure to provide them plenty of conference rooms and alcoves where they can talk privately. Division of office space into official working area and casual rooms for relaxing in off time have also been known to enhance efficiency.