Arindam Chaudhuri
Colours of our minds
As the Jungfraubahnen chughs and climbs through the long, dark tunnel, inside the Swiss Alps to take you to the top of Europe, a strange and mysterious feeling engulfs you and keeps you wondering about what lies ahead of the mountaneous ride. A few minutes hence you suddenly emerge into a bright and sparkling Jungfraujoch range and the feeling is indeed top of the world. One of our consultants speaks of a comparable experience with the new Planman Consulting office in New Delhi. As you step into the cosy azure blue elevator with diffused white illuminated ceiling, a similar mysterious feeling provokes your senses, and within no time as you reach the floor, you are suddenly catapulted into a realm of high energy and enthusiasm.

Colourful Organisations
Work place design and interiors have witnessed a revolution. If the communist world painted their offices in dull browns and dark greys; the Scandinavian countries preferred soothing whites and sky blues; Indian public sector organisations (and many private sector ones too!) during the pre liberalization days (licence raj era) revelled in dull browns and charcoal greys - then the third millennium work place is here to defy all established rules.
The cubicles are round in shape and very often octagonal! The walls are of abstract shapes (wherever they are not of glass). What breaks all norms are the colours. Staid creams off whites and dull and dirty yellows are passe and bright orange cubicles with bright yellow tables and azure blue ceilings are in, giving a dynamic and energetic look to the organisations.

Enter Planman Consulting
Spend five minutes in the Planman office as the magnetic charm of the colours, the designs, shapes and the illumination builds in you, and you would have reasons to believe and appreciate how significant it is to create such a space where fifty of the senior consultants spend most of the productive hours of their lives. The colours chosen and the designs created have been meticulously planned to provide a space to the consultants to be creative, alert and happy. More and more studies show a strong correlation between productivity and good design in the world place. Poor lighting, dull colours, employee discomfort etc. are things that require additional expenditure of energy for employees just to live up to expected levels of performance and enthusiasm. When you get those things right, you can see an unbelievable reduction in people tensions, absenteeism, illness and an equally unbelievable shoot up in the levels of high energy and enthusiasm. Aesthetic elements also convey the identity and the culture of an orgnisation to both visitors and employees. As famous exponent of Kathak, Gita Chandran pointed out on her visit to Planman "I wish the offices of other organisations like the UN etc. are also done up in similar colours in order to make them more friendly and exciting".
The most striking feature of Planman office which creates the exuberance is a central work hub. Quite akin to the bright and open central courtyard of a sprawling house which is the hub of activities, it symbolizes Planman's vibrancy and stands as a proud symbol of its initiatives. The round shaped open space transcends traditional compartmentalized office layouts dispelling the notion of office space hierarchies and adopting a one-core-space-for-all office plan. Every time you step inside the office, chances are that you would find a number of teams across all levels of the hierarchy within that space working on client assignments. It is a typical matrix work place and facilitates enhanced teamwork, open communication and flexibility. The work hub has a halo like yellow structure on the ceiling parallel to the work stations. This yellow halo contributes to mental clarity, improves left brain functions and enhances the ability to perceive and understand better. Research points to the fact that yellow contributes to good humour and optimism and boosts confidence. It is this space that seats new recruits to align them with the core Planman work culture and philosophy.
The central work hub is circumscribed with glass - walled cabins and a meeting studio for client discussions and team meetings. The cabins with glass walls facing the work hub create an illusion of a bigger space. The orange coloured abstract designs on the glass walls and the fluid cabinets arouse enthusiasm, sociability and spontaneity. The azure blue ceiling with illumination fittings stimulates intuition and creativity. The abstract glass tables with orange and blue chairs give an exciting contemporary touch to the entire office.

The Planman Experience
The new Planman office with its aesthetic elements and colours have influenced the social and work behaviour of its proud occupants, their perception of the work setting, how quickly they fatigue, and how tolerant they are of stressors. The experience has definitely been invigorating and has perceptibly boosted people morale. The shift has been from office occupants to proud owners of work spaces. As a senior consultant Sujit Roy puts it "Working long and late hours is now a pleasure, the colours never make me feel dull". This bears testimony to the fact that a vibrant environment inspires and nourishes the mind and infuses passion in one's work place.
During the weekly meetings there is a clear cut difference in the attitude displayed. The new and colourful conference room is helping us elicit new ideas in a much more positive and relaxed atmosphere.

Consultants have become "office proud". They now like inviting people to the office simply because they know that their office is different and innovative. Thus, their sense of belongingness seems to be on the rise.

Well known senior artist and designer Satish Gujral, to whom colours are an integral part of life on his visit to Planman for a weekly guest lecture says "I like the office so much that I don't feel like leaving so soon", we at Planman have reasons to believe that the new office is a step taken in the right direction.

From the crystal blue ocean reflecting the clear blueness of the morning sky, to the deep twinkling blue of the starlit night sky reflected in the sparkle of a pair of beautiful deep blue eyes, the color blue has manifested itself in every symbol of beauty, strength and serenity that has influenced life and the thoughts that guide it.

In nature, life and human perception, the color blue has come to symbolize inner peace, eternal calm, self-control and harmony. The lighter shades tend to accentuate creativity and intuition while the darker shades project power. Working and living in close proximity with this color would definitely have a significant influence on our moods and our lives.

The color blue has had a subtle yet significant influence on my life and is inextricably entwined with my personality and its development and therefore I feel comforted and inspired by its presence around me. An office which very well deserves a mention in this context is that of Adobe Systems India, one of our software major clients. The Adobe office is a brilliant symphony of glass & colors. The office has a liberal use of glass partitions and walls to create an illusion of space. The workstations have a bright shade of red tastefully coupled with gray and white and interestingly dotted with luminous computers. They do seem to arouse a feeling of intuition and creativity. The office is very well marked with well designed areas for games and activities, reading, food & refreshment etc. The food bar and beverages corner is done up with bright colors and an exciting illumination pattern having vivid and contemporary furniture. These spaces create enthusiasm, spontaneity and provides for conducive exchange of ideas in a seemingly informal setting to help stimulate inventiveness and teamwork, the primary prerequisites for effective software development.

The Amway office is also worth mentioning. Transparency, friendliness and warmth are the feelings that surround you as you enter this office of our client. The entire office is a soft work of art using soft colors like light blue, white and other pastel shades. The office has a generous use of light colored blinds which creates a hue of soft light as seen from outside. The reception has light colored walls with spongy furniture and balmy lights that make one feel relaxed. The office surely projects an image of transparent operations, sociability and a company that produces international products.