How to create an inspiring and productive office space

As a start-up or small business, you may feel that you don’t have the necessary funds to create a luxury office environment that fuels employee creativity and impresses your clients.

However, instead of thinking from an interior design perspective, you should be working from a psychology angle to ensure you get the most from your office design.

The look and feel of your office can have a direct impact on the output of your employees, so here’s how to create a workspace that boosts efficiency and productivity without costing huge amounts of money.

The science behind colours in the workplace

Research recently undertaken by custom wallpaper company, Create a Wall found that blue was the most popular colour choice for office spaces.

Surveying 750 people, each person was asked what colour they would use if they were to redesign their office from scratch. 22.4% answered blue, while white came a close second with 22.1%.

It’s no surprise that blue was the most popular choice, as the psychological properties of this particular colour can have a positive impact on clients and staff. Blue is known as an ‘intellectual colour’ and is said to stimulate our brain in a way that makes us feel safe and calm.

For businesses that have a small workforce but a large workload, blue walls could help to reduce stress across your office. Your staff could benefit from this subtle change when it comes to meeting monthly deadlines or delivering demanding projects.

Blue is an intellectual and a trusted colour

No matter the shade, blue is seen as a trusted colour. You’ll see many businesses use this in their logo to make their brand come across as sincere.

For example, Facebook, Ford and HP all use blue in their logo to evoke this psychological response. If you’re a small business trying to impress new clients, your meeting space could benefit from blue walls too.

However, studies have also found that blue can make us feel colder. This could be an issue if you’re holding meetings in your office.

A cold reception could make your clients feel unwelcome and on edge. Warmer colours like red and orange are recommended if you’re aiming to provide guests with a warm welcome.

The study also found that white was a popular colour for office spaces. Interestingly males were more likely than women to choose this colour. Whilst we may assume white is a colour devoid of creativity, it does have psychological uses.

If you’re a business working in an industry where hygiene is paramount, white would be the appropriate colour for your walls. White walls embody a sense of cleanliness and were a common theme in post-war interior design.

On the other end of the spectrum, purple was the least likely colour to be used in an office. It is said to induce anxiety and if used in bedrooms it has been shown to increase the risk of nightmares. Whilst it is often seen as a similar colour to blue, it doesn’t have the same positive psychological effect.

Geometric patterns are recommended for offices

Many business owners avoid using patterned wallpaper in business premises, instead opting for paint as a money-saving alternative. Whilst patterns may take longer to apply, they can add something different to your interior design theme.

It’s tempting to play it safe when it comes to redecorating your office, but this can actually work against businesses in some industry sectors.

For example, a client wouldn’t expect to visit a creative marketing agency with four barren white walls. If they’re not seeing any personality in your working environment, they may think twice about trusting you with creative projects.

Geometric patterns are recommended for office spaces as they create a repetitive theme. A wall that features a busy pattern with no repetition causes the eye to wander and can easily distract employees.

If you do want to introduce patterns, try to use colours that complement each other, as clashing shades will also cause too much visual stimulation.

How to maximise your workspace

A lack of space is a common issue for small businesses, but there are plenty of ways to work around the issue.

A modern alternative to large desks are standing work stations that take up less space. Removing chairs from the equation allows you to create islands of desk space where employees can stand and do their work if they so wish.

This is an increasingly important consideration, as research shows that office workers can develop serious health problems if they sit down for too long. The British Journal of Sports and Medicine in particular, has stated that office workers should ideally stand for two hours a day in order to avoid significant back problems later in life.

Standing desks are likely to become the norm in the average office setting in the coming years, as they cater for those who want to work more flexibly. Of course, businesses will still need to provide seated areas for their staff to use, but it’s clear that the traditional office desk setup is evolving.

Make the most of natural light

You should also look to use as much natural light as possible in your office as it offers real benefits. Not only does it help to create a feeling of space, but exposure to natural light is proven to improve a person’s sleep pattern and thus their cognitive performance.

By making the most of this free resource, you can help improve the wellbeing of staff, boost performance and, at the same time, create a workplace that your staff enjoy working in.

An example of a low-cost creative workspace

Bolton-based digital marketing agency, Bring Digital are a great example of how you can create an inspiring office environment without overspending.

When we look at the office, we can see that they have implemented many of the above points. Using blue walls, they have created a productive atmosphere for their team.

The floral pattern also works really well, bringing a sense of the outdoors into the room. This is emphasised further by the fake grass and quirky picnic bench, which is used for creative sessions.

Combined, these elements help the agency to make an instant impression when clients come to visit, which is an important consideration for any business working in the creative industries.

The office has also been designed in a way that maximises the natural light coming in from the windows, which helps to boost worker productivity and cuts down on the need for expensive lighting.

No matter what amount of space you’re working with, you can use some of these techniques to create a vibrant and productive office for your business, without breaking the bank.

About the author

This guide has been written for ByteStart by Tony Cartwright, Commercial and Business Development Director at Nitecrest Ltd. Tony oversees Create a Wall, the Custom Wallpaper & Mural Specialists arm of Nitecrest, servicing both the commercial and domestic market.

More help on offices and business premises

Finding the right premises can be a daunting task for any business owner, for more help on the subject, try some of ByteStart’s other guides;

And if you are just starting up, make sure you check out our most popular guides for new businesses;

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