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Crown Paints highlights how different colour choices can affect your post-pandemic workplace

15 July 2021

As the UK has become a nation of homeworker’s, the working environment that has become familiar is unrecognisable from what it was 18-months ago. Our workspaces have been gradually expanding from just office desks to include kitchen tables, conservatories, bedrooms, and everything in between.

Kathryn Lloyd, a Crown Paints’ colour specialist, takes this opportunity to look at how the use of colour can affect our working environment, and the physical and emotional wellbeing of those working within it.

The pandemic has forced many companies and individuals to re-evaluate how they work. Most traditional working offices have been forced to relocate home and led to a louder call for flexibility going forward.

With many companies and employees now reaping the benefits of working from home, many are thinking what role the commercial office will play as part of the ‘new normal’. To remain effective, greater attention needs to be made into how they will look and what design features will be incorporated. Overcoming the challenges of inspiring a generation of unsettled workers and keeping employees safe in a post-pandemic world, is by no means black or white – but Crown believes the use of colour can provide a good place to start.

Setting the tone

After over a year of different levels of lockdowns, the main priority when designing offices is ensuring these spaces are COVID-secure. Offices will now be obligated to abide by social distancing as well as introducing different signage, this will only reduce the design flexibility of the space. However, using colour to your advantage can help unlock the space.

Using colour effectively has a range of benefits. It can clearly define different areas – to assist in social distancing – as well as boosting productivity and wellbeing of employees.

By choosing cooler colours such as green and blue, you can help create a calm environment which can boost concentration and focus. Alternatively, warmer shades like red, orange and yellows can evoke a more emotional response – which are popular in more social breakout rooms.

Darker shades can make an area feel more enclosed and private, which can serve a great purpose in a meeting room setting. Whereas lighter colours can open a space and lend themselves perfectly to communal work areas.

The use of video calls within the workplace has risen so much over the last year, and despite some businesses beginning to return to the office, there is no sign of them being a thing of the past. This presents a great opportunity to explore backdrops.

Effectively using a feature wall to backdrop a call.

Although the psychology of colour is a fascinating subject, it would be limiting to dismiss the full spectrum of colours without careful consideration – it is often less about the specific colour choice itself than how and where it is used, the tones that can be created and how these can work with other colours.

Crown Paints works with its clients to create colour schemes that comprise both contrasting and complementary colour choices. Quite often, businesses will want to incorporate their own brand colours into their scheme. Considering all the different shades and tones that come from that branding, can be much more effective.

Colour your thinking

When planning the return to the office, selecting a relevant colour scheme that underpins the businesses branding is important from a corporate perspective, however it is also important to consider the specific requirements of office workers who, spend most of the time at their desks.

Naturally lit rooms are proven to boost moods and productivity, as well as improve the sustainability of the office without the need for artificial lighting.

Shadows, glare, and contrasts all must be considered as in-situ, colours can look very different in different forms of light. Softer mid-tones are commonly suitable for walls and ceiling as they provide a suitable focal point for resting eyes.

As well as considering the specific layout and orientation of a room and its light sources, Crown Paints is also able to advise its clients about how specific colours will appear in different lights using the colour rendering index.

Practical paintwork

Many of us will be continuing to work from home for the foreseeable future until our offices are deemed COVID-secure. One part of this will be establishing a robust cleaning programme in maintaining a low level of transmission. These extra maintenance requirements will come with extra costs, which elevates the importance to consider the longevity of the interior decoration.

Choosing a washable and hardwearing paint product that can be repeatedly cleaned without any detriment to the opacity and quality of the paint finish can make important long-term savings. Crown Trade’s Clean Extreme range also includes an anti-bacterial paint solution which can further help to maintain cleaner and more hygienic interiors.

As the world begins to progress into a positive, more hopeful future, colour can play a key role in re-establishing our perspectives within the workplace. Embracing colour at a time of social distancing can give offices the boost they need to stay positive and productive, and create a stronger link between wellbeing and work.