How the Environment Affects Work Emotions

Emily Walters
4 min read
Jan 31, 2017
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Sit back, relax and go to your happy place. What does it look like?

There’s a good chance that the place that makes you happy the most is filled with sunshine and bright colors. It’s probably clutter-free, and just the thought of it makes you feel instantly at ease.

Now, think about the typical call center or live chat station. Do you notice any differences?

The workspace is never going to feel like your happy place, but the fact remains that your surroundings do impact your mood. Studies show that even subtle environmental changes can have an impact on emotions at work.

And anyone who has manned live chat or worked in a call center knows that your mood does impact the way you handle situations.

It’s 8:58 p.m. and the live chat is about to close for the day. One request comes through, and it’s a problematic one. The customer paid for expedited shipping to get her item on time, but the item arrived two days later. Not only does she want a refund, but she wants extra compensation for her inconvenience.

The person who handles the request has had a long day with more than his share of frustration. He has been cooped up in a stuffy office for hours and he’s not happy about it. He’s two minutes away from clocking out, and now this. He’s clearly mad and frustrated. So is the customer. How do you think that interaction went?

As you can imagine, negative work emotions, including being sad, mad or scared, can have a negative impact on anyone’s ability to do their job. And we’ve recently learned that a person’s environment can have an impact on their mood.

Colors can inspire negative work emotions

Recent design trends rely heavily on white and gray to anchor a room, but this isn’t necessarily the best option for an office. In a study by the University of Texas, researchers found that every type of worker were less productive when they worked in a white or monochromatic white room.

Here’s what you want in a live chat representative

When the day has been long and customer emotions are running high, you want your live chat or call center representative to remain joyful, peaceful and confident. Regardless of how many difficult calls come in, your employees should keep their cool and handle each customer as if their concerns are the most important thing.

How to create an environment that inspires positive work emotions

Color affects our mood in so many ways, and that’s a good thing. Knowing which colors spark the most positive change can help design a more productive call center. You may want to consider adding the following colors into your workspace to create a happier and more productive environment.


Blue is a great choice for a live chat room because it has a calming effect. In fact, it lowers blood pressure. It may also stimulate the mind and increase productivity. It’s not high on the list for creativity, but you can always mix other colors in to add a creative spark. Creative thinking can often help in problem solving. Although a completely yellow room can encourage feelings of frustration, smaller amounts of yellow can ignite creativity.


Red is a very stimulating color, but it should be used sparingly. It’s great for jobs where physical activity is important, but in a call center, it can be used in smaller amounts. A pop of this energizing hue may keep workers from having to hit the coffee room as often.


Like blue, green has a calming effect on the body and blood pressure. This may be due to the fact that these colors are found abundantly in nature. Green is also known to create a strong sense of balance. But possibly the best benefit to adding green to a call center would be that it can enhance productivity.


Consider adding a blue wavelength bulbs to workstations in your office. A study published in the journal Sleep found that exposure to blue light before taking on an important task may improve performance.

“These findings are important as they link the acute behavioral effects of blue light to enhanced activation of key cortical systems involved in cognition and mental control,” said William D. S. Killgore, PhD, the senior author and principal investigator of the project.

Another way to stimulate your workers’ minds is to add more natural light to the space. Adding more windows probably isn’t an option, but it’ll help if you can keep their workspaces closer to natural light.

Action Plan

You don’t need to completely remodel your office design to boost work productivity and morale. All you need are some minor tweaks and creative painting in the space. Add the right colors for your desired effect and try to incorporate natural light along with other elements of nature. You may find that your employees are happier and more productive as a result.