In any organisation, one of the biggest keys to success is getting the most from your employees. As a result, businesses spend a great deal of time thinking of ways to motivate staff and keep turnover and absenteeism low, with examples including performance-related pay bonuses and job rotation strategies.

However, in actual fact, one of the easiest ways to boost productivity is to make changes to the design of the workplace itself. In this article, we look more closely at the various ways in which businesses can use colours, design and office space planning in order to get the most from their staff.

Stimulating Colours

Research has repeatedly demonstrated that the colours that surround us can have a profound impact on our mood or mental state and this means that office interior design can be used to bring about productivity increases. In particular, a study from the University of Texas found that green and blue are best for improving focus.

With that being said, the issue is somewhat more complicated than that. While blues and greens may be the best options when concentration is needed, some researchers suggest that colours like yellow and red are better when it comes to stimulating productivity among those working in creative fields and physical fields, respectively.

“If you’re a designer, and you want creativity, blue isn’t going to be the colour for you. Yellow is a better colour,” says colour psychologist, Angela Wright, in an interview for A Life of Productivity. “If you’re hiring a bunch of guys to build you a house, for example, blue isn’t going to be a lot of help to you – you want the red.”

Colours To Avoid

In much the same way as there are colours that can help to boost productivity, there are also those that can hinder it. For instance, despite the fact that the majority of offices are either white, off-white or beige in colour, one of the researchers involved in the aforementioned University of Texas study points out that it is not good for productivity.

Again, however, the colours that you need to avoid will largely depend on the nature of your business and the type of work you need your staff to do. While red can be good for making physical workers more productive, it is also associated with negative emotions like anger, which can be counter-productive in traditional office environments.

Office Design Tips

Away from the issue of colour, there are a number of other ways in which your office interior design can improve productivity. In fact, with the right office space planning, it may even be possible to increase workplace productivity by as much as 20 percent over previous levels.

One of the most simple things to do involves eliminating as much clutter as possible. A clean-looking room is much more conducive to both concentration and creative thinking. Meanwhile, providing ample lighting has also been shown to bring about benefits in terms of productivity and work ethic.

Finally, there is an increasing amount of evidence suggesting that open plan offices actually hurt productivity, due to noise distractions and a general lack of privacy. Although they also offer advantages, it may be worth considering a different layout, or at least offering quiet spaces for when it gets too much for people.


You do not always have to offer incentives in order to get a productivity boost. Research has repeatedly shown that the colours you choose and the design you use within your workplace can have an impact upon mood and motivation. Generally, white and beige are best avoided, while clutter and distractions should be kept to a minimum.