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Work Environments and State of Mind

The following factors can have a psychological impact (often subtle), upon the health and activity of people using a building:

Feeling Restricted

People can feel confined, as if in a zoo. This may be a problem in buildings where windows cannot be opened, for example, due to air conditioning). Rooms can be made to feel bigger and more spacious by using mirrors and large windows to bring the outside inside). Also, plants can reduce the sense of confinement.

Noise Stress

Volume, repetition and kinds of sounds can have a negative impact.


Variety in the environment is less tiring and more stimulating. Too much variety, however, can be irritating and create an unsettled, nervous environment. Below are some factors that can contribute to a varied, interesting, stimulating environment:

· Variety and harmony of forms, such as using a combination of relaxing curved shapes and stimulating angles;

· Variety and harmony of colour;

· Variety through influence of light, lighting some rooms more than others as needed to allow the eyes to relax as the person moves into different areas;

· Variety of structures, which can include balancing between high and low, and creating a pleasing and functional arrangement of furniture and equipment;

· Variety of smells. One factor here is to keep toilets away from working areas, and to restrict unpleasant fumes to less-used areas. Also, try to ensure that staff who work in those areas have frequent breaks from them. Kitchen smells should also be considered

Sentiment Towards the Location

People develop a sentimental attitude towards a location they occupy for a long period. It can become a stimulus for memories; and it can become difficult to leave if the necessity arises


Colour has such a strong effect on people that we will discuss it, below, on its own.

Colour has both a physical and psychological affect upon people. Research has shown that, thoughtful use of colour can increase working efficiency levels, aid in the retention of data, and create positive associations with corporate identification. Choice of colour schemes in a building can have a very real affect upon the health of people using that building. For the utilisation of colour to be successful, it should be an integral part of the design process, be that the design of an entire building or simply a company logo. Consistency of colour and colour matching should be carefully monitored to ensure the desired affect is achieved.

Colours can be divided into two broad groups: warm colours (reds, oranges, yellows etc.) and cool colours (blues, greens, greys, etc.). Warm colours have a psychological affect of making people feel active and stimulated. They don't encourage relaxation, but they do encourage work. Cool colours tend to be softer and more relaxing.

Article by Staff of ACS Distance Education

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