Business February 8th, 2018

Why Coloring In The Office Should Be A Thing

Your team seated around a conference table.

Each employee is hard at work, intent on the project at hand. Is it your company’s latest financial statement? Is it a plan for your upcoming conference?

Nope. It’s adult coloring!

It may seem frivolous at first, but bear with us. There are proven benefits to coloring, and these benefits could be put to work to help your own company culture. There’s a reason adult coloring books have become so popular in recent years, gathering the interest of mental health experts across the globe. The activity is not only fun, but it has emotional perks as well.

Here are a few ways the trend could help your team or business.

Boosts brand awareness

One expert believes social media has largely driven the popularity surge of adult coloring. Just as participants share finished work at painting parties, your employees can show off their artwork during an office coloring session. Far more advanced than childhood coloring books, adult versions encourage dramatic artwork and have plenty of room for individual expression. When finished, team members may even want to share their creation on social media and tag your business, or use a designated hashtag to promote your company culture.

Promotes bonding

It’s no secret that teambuilding improves work performance. Multiple studies have shown it, including this one from last year. Sure, you could take the entire team to race exotic cars or go on an overnight retreat, but that can be cost prohibitive. Instead, why not set aside some time to cater lunch and shade some trees? By staying inside the office, you're alleviating the burden of forcing your employees to find and pay for transportation. This activity can also break the ice with team members who normally don’t communicate with each other. As a result, you may find these employees coming together to brainstorm challenges they’re facing or collaborate on new projects.

Reduces stress

Few work environments are completely stress-free five days a week, 52 weeks a year. Over time, even a small amount of daily stress can directly impact an employee’s mental and physical health. This affects your own business’s bottom line since you’ll see a reduction in productivity, as well as an increase in absenteeism. Eventually, that stressful environment will lead to higher turnover, pushing you to put money and effort into hiring and training replacement workers. Mental health experts have compared coloring to art therapy, which is used to treat anxiety and improve self-esteem. Just a few minutes with a coloring book could make a big difference in your team’s stress levels.

Stimulates creativity

Never underestimate the value of creativity in the workplace. Your best employees likely call upon it multiple times throughout a day. Coloring not only stimulates the part of the brain responsible for creativity, but it also fires up the area that handles logic. Each team member will return to his or her desk, ready to tackle whatever challenges await. Those who are regularly creative have been found to be more conscientious and concerned about personal growth. In other words, the very type of person you want on your team.

Learn about employees

The truth is, each worker has a unique personality. Effective management often means learning to get the most out of those individual traits, but supervisors may not get to know workers very well when they’re seated at a desk, typing away on their devices. Coloring time gives managers a chance to learn a little more about what makes each worker tick. Do some employees strictly stay within the lines, while others tend to make their own borders? Which team members are more conservative in their artwork, and which are boldly creative in their choices? This information can be useful the next time you have a new project and you’re trying to decide which employee fits best for each role.


You may not be ready to take up adult coloring as a hobby for yourself, but when you think of it as a workplace activity, it takes on a new meaning. Give it a try and if it works well, you can make it a regular part of your workweek. You may even choose to leave a stack of coloring books in the employee break room, letting employees color at their leisure.

To get you started, click below to download a sample of coloring pages based on Zappos’ core values. To view the entire collection, click here.