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Do We Need It?: the Psychology of the “We’re Open” Sign

Neon Open Sign/WikiCommons

“A body of research has shown that signs are effective in changing behavior in a variety of domains (e.g., road traffic, health behaviors , and environmental protection),” writes Julia Meis in a 2017 study by NIH. Back when Brick & Mortar establishments were more common, a little sign on the front door controlled the entire operation. It simply read, “We’re Open” and it would light up if the restaurant, store, or whatever was in fact, open. If the light is off then we wouldn’t go in. Unless you were there for criminal activity. Then of course, well that’s a different case. (You shouldn’t do that — stop that). 

Anyways, we’ve found ourselves in a new frontier of business where most transactions are done online. According to WP Forms, it’s estimated that 95% of all purchases will be made online by 2040. We may not sell our merchandise or products behind the beautiful glass storefronts anymore. But, we should make sure that we keep part of that tradition alive: the “We’re Open” sign. 

Just because we’ve moved business online, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t regulate our hours of business. That way we can work our ways up to being able to handle 24/7 business with proper staffing and products. It’s important that we take every step of that process to protect our mental health and the “we’re open” sign is a great way to do that. 

Find out what drove this conversation on Episode 164. Send your comments and responses to me on Instagram.

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