Color

How Entrepreneurs Can Use Colored Lights to Stay Productive

Colors in your workspace aren't just for Christmas anymore. They actually have a surprising impact on focus and creativity.
How Entrepreneurs Can Use Colored Lights to Stay Productive
Image credit: Jonathan Kitchen | Getty Images
Guest Writer
Content Marketer and Author
5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Colors drive the world around us.  Plants use color to absorb the energy of the sun.  Animals use color to hide from predators or to attract mates.  Humans use color in an infinite variety of ways that are cultural, social, positive -- and negative.  It should come as no surprise, then, that color impacts our lives in a million little ways.

Related: 5 Ways to Beat Seasonal Affective Disorder In Your Office

Nor is the impact of color in your business always just about branding or advertising.  The color of your office space, for instance, can have a big impact on productivity.  Cool greens and blues, and natural hues, tend to improve our focus and efficiency while instilling a sense of well-being. 

Warmer hues, like red, can indicate something the viewer should be passionate about -- or something worthy of concern.  That's why red is the color of valentines and of warnings against fire.  Yellow, meanwhile, is energetic and refreshing, helpful for innovation.

Updating the "idea" bulb

There has been a trend in recent years to infuse an office or workspace with colors appropriate for the tasks at hand.  Think: a new age, psychology-backed Feng Shui.  Yet this notion of decorating has drawbacks: For example, if you paint the walls of your office, you'll find it difficult to shift colors as your business shifts gears. Choosing one color over another can result in a feeling of staleness, and changing up decorations is certainly a chore. 

Related: 6 Science-Backed Ways to Make Your Office More Productive

The good news is that modern technology provides a solution to this problem, and that solution lies in upgrading the lighting in your workplace.

Modern innovations are extending our already commonplace knowledge of good lighting practices.  Cool versus warm lighting, bright blue-white LEDs versus warmer yellow-white incandescent bulbs: All have their place. Even variations in white lights can affect productivity and creativity when customized for office spaces.

The smart home and home-automation industry has also been growing year over year, and one of the primary innovations it has brought is programmable or controllable light bulbs, including those like the Philips Hue, LIFX A19, Ikea’s Tradfri and the GE C bulbs. 

Through apps, remote controls, Bluetooth connections and programmable systems, these bulbs can be controlled to deliver thousands of colors in varying intensities, without the need to repaint or redecorate. 

Want a productive shade of blue for your office? Set your lights to blue. Done with work and want to relax? Switch those lights to a light green. Entertaining for a party?  Rock those Christmas colors. 

On top of all of that, lights work just fine in all white, with just a hint of warm or cool color to bring on the desired psychological effect. You don’t need to plan out which bulbs go in which room of an office; just program in a few settings for common uses and run one set of bulbs.

Custom-tailored solutions

Perhaps the biggest benefit of using a smart lighting system, be it in a corporate environment or in an individual work-from-home office, is the ability to tailor lighting to your own specific preferences. Sure, blue might work to increase your productivity, but what if the shade of blue in the overhead lights just doesn’t work for you? With smart bulbs, you can pick the exact "hex" value for the shade of blue you prefer. 

Entrepreneurs are nothing if not highly opinionated individuals. No two offices are the same. Some people prefer standing desks; others prefer desks with bikes or treadmills attached; and still others just want a room with a view.  Everyone has his or her own preferences, so being able to find and select the specific lighting for the specific tasks you’re performing is an enormous boon.

All it requires is a bit of investment into a smart bulb system, some introspection to monitor moods and productivity while experimenting with color and probably a good firewall.

Natural rhythms

Installing a bunch of smart bulbs is not going to have an immediate 200 percent productivity increase attached.  There’s a lot of room still to experiment, and a lot of psychology and biology left to explore.  Smart lighting can accentuate a natural workflow, but it won’t allow you to bypass natural circadian rhythms without issue. 

With this in mind, it’s worthwhile to accompany smart lighting with control over other light sourcesF.lux, an app to adjust the color temperature of computer screens to follow daylight, is a great companion.  As the sun sets, and the bright white-blue of your home computer screen becomes a harsh glare, the app adjusts and dims your screen and adds a warmer hue.  You can then follow with similar adjustments in ambient light: The result is you may find it easier to fall asleep.

Related: These 7 Amenities Cost Little but Make Your Home Office Much More Productive

Using fully color-adjustable lighting is still a very new field for entrepreneurs. There are no easy-to-follow guides to set up the perfect colors. It’s an investment that requires self-awareness and monitoring personal data to optimize. If that sounds like a worthwhile experiment or even a fun thing to try, smart lighting in the office just might be for you.

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