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Color Scheme and Work Productivity 1 Running Head: Color Scheme and Work Productivity Color Scheme and Work Productivity How Does the Color Scheme of a Building Affect Work Productivity Introductory Psychology Research Paper Using APA Style Jessica N. Russell Milwaukee Area Technical College July 2008 Color Scheme and Work Productivity 2 Creating a productive work environment is a shift in both the blue collar and white collar work worlds that has the potential of influencing change in the wider arena of life.
High work productivity while maintaining quality could have an extremely positive impact on the economy.
Research indicates that employees produce a higher output of work when they are employed where there is a positive work environment. A huge part of the positive environment is the color scheme of the work building. Using color psychology when designing work environments can make a difference in attitude and work performance, thereby impacting the bottom line of a company. It is the higher work productivity and positive attitudes that are the focus of this research.
Color Scheme and Work Productivity
How Does the Color Scheme of a Building Affect Work Productivity Introductory Psychology Research Paper Using APA Style Introduction The author of this research paper has been in the workforce for over ten years. During this time, the author has worked in a wide variety of industries, including: clerical work, food service, sales and service, and collections. The author is most currently a team lead in the current position of collector. Working as an employee, and now in a somewhat supervisory role, the author has seen both high and low levels of productivity performed by employees.
There is a noticeable pattern that Color Scheme and Work Productivity 3 either most employees are highly productive at some of the companies, or most of the employees are less productive than they should be at some of the companies. The one thing that has intrigued the author is the difference in attitudes and work productivity when moving from one workplace to another. In some work settings, people did unpleasant and difficult work tasks, yet they maintained a positive attitude and high productivity rates.
In other work environments, people had a great job and worked in a pleasant environment, yet their attitudes were not upbeat to reflect that and work productivity was average or low. What in these work places makes the difference in work productivity? The author spoke of this project with employees at work. When the author referenced what in the “workplace environment” makes a difference, many employees stated things such as furnishings, ergonomic work stations, colors of the walls, windows and art in the workplace. The feedback that was given led to the topic for this research paper.
It is important to know the answer to color schemes and their affect of work productivity, as work productivity is what affects a company’s bottom line. The company’s bottom line, in turn, has a huge affect on the economy. Since economic conditions affect all people in this world, it is important to Color Scheme and Work Productivity 4 research and find ways to increase worker productivity. Since there are many things that affect work productivity, the author narrowed the research down to one main thing that affects levels productivity. Does the color scheme of a building affect work productivity?
Method There has been much research done on how to increase work productivity, going far back at the mid 1800s. However, most research has been on management style and hierarchies in the work place. Not as much emphasis has been put on researching the work environment in regards to color schemes. To find information for the research, the author looked in the library research database EBSCOHOST to find articles related to color psychology. The author also utilized a book written on the topic of contemporary management. Results and Findings
The earliest known study in regards to the work environment was series of studies was conducted from 1924 to 1932 at the Hawthorne Works of the Western Electric Company. This research, now known as the Hawthorne Studies began as an attempt to investigate how characteristics of the work setting – Color Scheme and Work Productivity 5 specifically at the level of lighting or illumination – affect worker fatigue and performance. (Jones & George, 2008, p. 65). The researchers conducted an experiment in which they systematically measured worker productivity at various levels of illumination.
The experiment produced some unexpected results. The researchers discovered that regardless of whether they raised or lowered the level of illumination, productivity increased. In fact, productivity only began to fall when the level of illumination dropped to the level of moonlight, a level at which, presumably, workers could no longer see well enough to do their work efficiently. (Jones & George, 2008, p. 65). It was concluded that the employees were just happy that people were paying attention to them, and seeing what caused them to work more productively.
The Hawthorne Studies did not look at how illumination at higher or lower intervals for a set period of time affects the performance. This would have answered the question if the illumination affects work performance. Thus, from there, research could have been done in regards to the color schemes of a room. Also, much of the research cited for the Hawthorne Studies was perception based. This would suggest that it is important to ask the workers involved what their illumination preference, as well as their color, preference is. (Hart, 2004, Color Scheme and Work Productivity 6
P. 1). According to research completed by Blumber Capitals Partners, 80 percent of workers said the condition of their work environment affects their productivity, and 33 percent said they have actually left a job or taken a new one nased on the condition of the building and/or amenities offered. (Kampert, 2008, p. 1). In 1998, a study was conducted in regards to task type, posters, workspace color on mood, satisfaction and performance. This study was overseen by the department of psychology at Creighton University in Omaha, NE. There were 112 student participants.
As part of the experiment, they either performed a low or high demand task in a blue or red workspace, with or without a scenic poster. (English and Stone, 1998, p. 175). Only hostility was affected by task type. Satisfaction and performance were not significantly affected by either the posters. Performance decreased for the high demand tasks and decreased for the low demand tasks. Posters made the workplace more pleasant, but also increased perceived task demand. Perceived task demand was marginally related to workplace color.
Perceived task demand may moderate the effects of posters and workplace color on mood and other perceptions. Other date support the notion that cool Color Scheme and Work Productivity 7 colors are calming and warm colors are stimulating. (Stone & English, 1998, p. 175). Many studies in regards to color have actually been done by interior designers who decorate homes,and some who decorate offices. Interior designers are aware that while people do not spend a lot of time thinking about room color, it affects every day of our lives.
Room color influences our mood and thoughts. Colors affect people in many ways, depending on one’s age, gender, ethnic background, or local climate. (Corrigan, 2008, p. 3). Also,certain colors, or groups of colors tend to get a similar reaction from most people, regardless of their age, gender, ethnic background, or local climate. The overall difference is in the shades or tones that are used. To understand what colors work best in certain rooms in either a home or place of business, it is first important to understand the moods that colors evoke.
Much research has been done in the area of color psychology – the study of colors and their affects on moods. Below you will see the colors listed and mood that are evoked. The descriptions come from a book titled Color and Human Response by Faber Birren. The colors and the moods they evoke can also be located on any internet site that discusses color psychology. Color Scheme and Work Productivity 8 Red – raise’s a room’s energy level. It stirs up excitement, but has also been shown to raise blood pressure, speed respiration and speed heart rate.
Red can sometimes be too stimulating for a room. Crimson – makes people feel irritable. People sitting in a crimson room for a long period of time will likely break down any peace or harmony that one is striving to create. Overall red and crimson colors, should only be used in rooms that are used after dark where just a lamp makes the room have an elegant feel. Many steak restaurants like to use red and crimson. Yellow – captures the joy of sunshine and communicates happiness. Thought it is a cheerful color, it should only be used in kitchens, dining rooms and bathrooms.
People are more likely to lose their tempers in a yellow room, as it tends to create feelings of frustration and anger in people. The color yellow is also fatiguing on the eyes. Blue – brings down blood pressure and slows respiration and heart rate. It is considered calming, relaxing, and serene. Pastel blue, however, can come across as unpleasantly chilly, especially in a room that receives little natural light. Color Scheme and Work Productivity 9 Green – considered the most restful color on the eye. A sage or medium green cools things down, encourages unwinding, and promotes comfort and togetherness.
Green is believed to relieve stress by helping people relax. Purple – in its darkest forms is rich, dramatic and sophisticated. Light purples have the same effect as pastel blues, but without the chilly effect. Orange – evokes excitement, enthusiasm, and is an energetic color. It is great for an exercise room. Orange was used in ancient cultures to increase energy levels. Neutrals (black, gray, white, and brown) – are calm colors. Black is used sparingly as trim, same as dark tones of brown, because too much of a dark color make a room feel smaller. White brightens up small areas.
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