How do Colors and Lighting Affect Employees’ Productivity?

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Employees Productivity

Last Updated: April 2024

Our current lifestyle is a race against time. And for a business to stand out, employees’ productivity is essential.

If you wonder why your employees remain stagnant despite investing numerous hours in work, then you, like many others, maybe follow a commonly errored ideology that more time spent in the office implies more work done.

In reality, there are many things that contribute to higher productivity.  And one of the crucial elements is lighting at your workplace.

This article will help you understand how you can boost your employees’ productivity by simply changing the colors and lighting at your workplace.

Colors stimulate responses

As per different studies, different colors stimulate different responses in people.

Stanley Felderman of Felderman Keatinge & Associates, in an interview with MBA@UNC, “Light has an enormous effect on our physical and mental well-being.”

He believes that it’s in our DNA to perform better under specific lighting and that we perform differently depending on the light in our environment.

So let us understand the effects that different colors have on the human mind which can further help you in determining what colors would increase your employees’ productivity.

Effects of Colors on the Human Mind

effect of colors on human mind

We found a fascinating study, that was a culmination of previously conducted experiments. The significance that color has on our psychological health would amaze you.

This is what the study revealed:

  • In 1875, European doctor Ponzo experimented with colored glass walls and furniture in the shades of blue and red. When put in a room colored in blue, a man who had been refusing to eat anything for days now started desiring food while an aggressive patient calmed down within an hour.

  • Colors act as a stimulus, too much of which leads to changes in breathing pattern, blood pressure, and muscle tension. On the contrary, very few stimuli can induce sleeplessness, anxiousness, and loss of concentration. For example, a room painted completely white will lead to a lack of stimulus while a room in red will increase stimuli.

  •   Colors like yellow instill balance, self-confidence, and optimism while orange is the initiator of projects, thoughts, ideas and boosts one’s spirit.

Additional studies were conducted to understand how people react to different colors:

  • In an experiment, researchers instructed students to spend some time sitting in a red room just before taking an exam. This remarkably showed lower scores as teachers often use red to mark errors in students’ notebooks. Hence, the students associated red with failure or making mistakes.

  • Colors like Green and Blue can be associated with calmness and hence, one of the reasons why surgeons and doctors wear either green or blue while performing surgeries.

  • The use of warm colors can evoke trust and loyalty towards your campaigns when incorporated into your marketing strategy.

  • Black exudes power and confidence. It can also bestow upon you an aura of unapproachability.

The following image can help you understand how different colors can be associated with emotions:

meanings of different colors



Image source:

Now if you have understood why it is important to choose your colors wisely, let me shed some light on what works towards improving an individual’s productivity.

Also read: Employee Advocacy: Why is it Important For Your Business?

The Importance of Natural Lighting

An experiment conducted by the National Sleep Foundation that was published in their journal has proved that sufficient exposure to natural light helps in regulating the rhythm of the employees and increases the quality of their sleep.

If you’re wondering how the quality of sleep can impact your employees’ productivity, you should consider this study:

As per a study published on the NCBI website, employees enjoying high-quality sleep also perform with increased productivity, thereby generating more revenue for their companies.

Furthermore, understanding the benefits of natural lighting within the office, Felderman and Keatinge replaced the concept of drywall with an extensive amount of glasses to allow light to travel naturally throughout their office.

The following image will help you understand how they incorporated this ideology:

Workplace with natural lighting



Image source

Having realized how colors affect your life, I guess the next question that may be popping in your mind is, “what colors and lighting should I use in my office to improve productivity?”

Tailoring Colors and Lighting Throughout Your Office:

Mentioned below are some ideas that can help you decide on lighting and colors for your office.

– Colors you should use in your office

Keep in mind, while using favorite home colors, reconsider for the office to maintain a professional environment.

Let us understand this with an example. Imagine you like the color green. According to color psychology, Green is a color that has numerous effects on our minds.

While green is generally associated with feelings of calmness, restoration, harmony, and growth, being enveloped in the wrong shade of green for long hours, can induce boredom and stagnation.

You would not want your employees to work with the latter emotions.

Based on the utility of the space and the emotions induced by the respective colors, the following is a list of colors that you could incorporate in your office:

  • Blue: As mentioned earlier, the blue color helps us in staying focused. In areas where employees are involved in accounting, it can be utilized.

  • Red: The color red represents urgency and, therefore, can be utilized in areas that require physical exertion. For example, construction work.

  • Yellow: It is a color that stimulates our emotions and can also induce a sense of happiness. Where better to could you this color than in areas where your design and innovation team conducts their day-to-day activities.

  • Orange: This color evokes warmth and comfort. It would be apt for waiting rooms or lounges.

– The lighting you should use in your office

blue light can increase productivity

Natural light, as mentioned earlier, is necessary for increasing your employees’ work efficiency. However, if your office is located such that it does not get sufficient quantities of natural sunlight, you can always use blue-enriched light bulbs instead.


A two-month study performed by researchers at the University of Greenwich highlights the benefits of blue-enriched light in work-spaces which are as follows:

  • Employees who worked under blue-enriched light claimed to be happier and stress-free.
  • Blue light lowers the melatonin content produced by our glands, responsible for inducing sleep. Thus, it works similar to caffeine and helps you stay sharp.

Having understood the importance of lighting, we would suggest that you should use blue light or cooler colors in rooms used for brainstorming and innovation where you would want your employees to feel excited and rejuvenated to share their ideas.

On the contrary, you would want to establish a sense of trust and well-being in meeting rooms so that your employees feel calm and composed. Thus, use warm colors in meeting rooms.

Your conference rooms should incorporate an intermediate tone, which involves warm colors to instill a sense of comfort and acceptance along with cooler colors to keep them motivated.

Adaptive Lighting – The Next Milestone

Your work environment plays a crucial role in determining your efficiency. Incorporating adaptive colors can help you achieve higher productivity and improve your revenue generation in the long run.

Thus, Lights that adapt to your desires will be the next milestone for companies that aim towards increasing their productivity.

Maybe the next time you notice your employees arriving early to work and leaving way beyond working hours, you could thank your wisdom for choosing the apt lighting in your offices.



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