Previously in this space, we discussed five ways to use color in your personal workspaces. Now let’s turn our attention to the social work environment.
While color in a personalized setting can help create a space that’s your own, color in the social sphere seeks to make you feel like part of a community. Past generations have felt the need to separate life from work, but the newest working generation desires to live AND work.
Here are five ways to create an inviting space for your employees:
1. Lighting Fixtures and Natural Light
Brightly colored lighting fixtures can send a strong message of engagement. Without expending too much time or energy, for example, replacing a white troffer with a few blue pendants can quickly make a space pop—inviting people to enter in and socialize. Explore adding bold colors to main areas, as well as individual task lights. And don’t forget to play with natural light. It brings people together outside and can do the same indoors.
2. Accents and Finishes
While these design features may seem obvious, they’re surprisingly overlooked elements when adding color. To create optimal engagement, consider both non-traditional techniques (i.e. drawer pulls, panels, door tags and other hardware) and non-traditional designs (i.e. colored countertops, textured ceiling/column finishes, and accent tiles in brighter colors and patterns).
3. Lounge Spaces and Soft Seating
While a common suggestion, many workplaces still neglect the idea of including bright colors to their seating (unless you work at Google). It doesn’t take much! Consider adding a brightly-colored lounge chair in the kitchenette for employees to use while waiting for their food to cook, or, in open office environments, scatter soft seating throughout your workspace as an alternative to cubicles. And something as simple as adding an upholstered window bench in a nook area can greatly impact interoffice dynamics.
4. Dividers and Panels
When trying to heighten employee engagement, traditional wall or panel systems won’t work. Instead, consider a manufacturer like 3Form, which provides semi-transparent, colored-glass divider systems. Also, Steelcase offers great post and beam systems that can be modified to include colored screens in lieu of traditional, solid panels—serving as an art piece, acoustical aid, and divider.
More and more, companies are infusing their brand into their office design, in the hopes of further enforcing their company style and culture. Branding your space can be done subtly—such as adding touches of brand colors and typefaces throughout the spaces–or more emphatically—such as a giant statement wall in a prime social space.
Many organizations crave a company culture defined by highly motivated, deeply engaged employees and a workplace that reinforces this desire. And while there are many ways to get there, simply adding a splash of color throughout your office environment can likely go the furthest in expressing your company’s personality.
So whether you are a large company looking to refresh your space or a remote employee seeking a refuge within your workplace, pick a color and start making the space yours!