It is widely recognized that having art in your life, whether you are viewing or creating it, can have a variety of benefits. Art provides insight, entertainment, relaxation, and even an outlet for stress. Given the gains the inclusion of art in our life can produce, it makes sense to build it into your offices and workplaces to improve your business’s productivity.

To really harness the power of art for your organization it’s important to understand the benefits it can bring and what your employees want from you when it comes to their office décor. Displaying ill-thought out design and artworks could end up being counterproductive. Office furniture supplier Viking has recently surveyed 1,500 employees to uncover what benefits they feel art offers them, and what they’d most like to see from their employers in this area.

What are the benefits of office artworks?

Art is now relatively commonplace in many offices. Almost two-thirds of workplaces in the UK display some form of art for their employees and clients. As art becomes more commonplace in the office, it’s important to not let it become just another thing to tick off the list when planning a renovation.

Your office artwork should be more than something used to fill wall space, it should engage staff and allow them the advantages of having art in their workplace. Generic artwork chosen at random may have no overall effect on office productivity, but if you give employees the chance to choose art that really connects with them personally it’s far more likely to boost motivation.

Over half of workers (54%) say that art is incredibly important and that they want to see it in all workplaces. The reasons why employees feel the presence of art in their office to be so important was also revealed by Viking’s survey.

1) Art increases productivity

Staring at grey walls all day can be uninspiring, and the lack of variation tiring to the eye. Four in ten (41%) workers say that the installation of bright, colourful, engaging artworks helps keep them going at work, and increases their productivity.

Studies have shown that people who worked in enriched offices, where they were surrounded by carefully-planned artwork and decorations worked up to 15% faster than colleagues in undecorated spaces.

2) Art reduces stress

Mental health issues are now the second biggest cause of sick days in the UK. With mental health being an ever-growing conversation in the workplace, employers should be constantly seeking to alleviate pressure on workers to keep them healthy.

Installing meaningful artworks in your office could be a way to do this. Half of employees (50%) say that having art in their workplace would reduce their stress levels, helping to prevent mental health problems.

3) Art makes people happier

Coming into a dull, bland office is unlikely to lift anyone’s mood. Over half of workers (53%) say that artwork in their office makes them happier coming into work.

In the long-term, this will help you reduce staff turnover and increase loyalty to your business, and staff have a more positive view to coming in to work for you.

4) You can get a boost in creativity

If your business operates in a creative industry, it’s of particular importance that you factor in artworks when planning your workplace. 46% of workers say that the presence of artworks in their office helps with their creative process, giving inspiration during idea generation and keeping their mind active.

5) It’s not just employees that benefit

Although boosts to your employees’ happiness and productivity are reason enough to invest in art for your office, there are other benefits too.

Half of employees (50%) believe that art can benefit businesses through the impression it gives to potential clients and prospective employees. Art brings your workspace to life, letting it appear lively and vibrant, which will prove effective when you are looking to attract new people.

What are employers currently doing?

Despite employees clearly indicating that there is an appetite for and benefits to having art in the office, there is a disconnect with what their employers are currently providing. Almost one-third of workers (30%) believe their employers refuse to create or expand their company’s artwork collection because they do not believe it’s important.

On top of this, 38% of people say they do not have enough artwork in their office because their employer refuses to invest more in the area. This is a sign that more employers need to recognize the importance that art holds for their workers. Responses to Viking’s survey show that introducing art in the workplace clearly holds a value amongst staff that should see a tangible return in productivity and creativity, boosting the success of your business.  

How to improve your artwork

If you choose to listen to workers and build up your art collection, there are a few things you should bear in mind when you are planning. A badly executed décor plan, or ad hoc additions of artwork, can create a confusing and disconnected office, so think everything through carefully before you start.

You should choose artwork that has some connection with your company, its work, and its values. Half of workers (47%) believe that this is important to consider when choosing artwork.

Displaying artwork that links to your brand and its values provides clarity to clients and employees as to what your purpose is and will help people focus on this. It also creates a cohesive and well thought out appearance for your business. Installing artwork which showcases something unrelated to what you do, or in a style that is at odds with the general tone of your work, can be confusing to both staff and clients, so keep everything relevant.

If you want to reap the full benefits of artwork displays for your business, it’s also important that you don’t simply implement new plans from a top-down level. Over four in ten employees (42%) think it is important to have their voice heard when it comes to planning art installations in the office and choosing what is displayed.

Despite this, just 5% of people are given the opportunity to make decisions about the art that is displayed where they work, with less than a quarter (22%) feeling like they have any influence in the area at all.

Letting employees get involved with the process of choosing art can help ensure the final results reflect your business and are both engaging and lead to the benefits discussed above.

Getting staff involved in the process of choosing artwork does not have to be long or arduous. It can be something as simple as holding focus groups with employees. Ask your staff to attend a short meeting, which could even be at lunch or before or after work, if they wish to contribute and ask what styles of art they want to see and where.

If you struggle to get the time to let this happen, consider hosting an email poll, asking your staff what they prefer from office artwork and build your plan around their responses.  Giving staff the ability to contribute to the way their office is decorated will not only result in artwork that they actually appreciate it but will help them feel invested in your business and that they are really part of the team.

If you can get your staff involved in selecting distinctive, well thought out artwork to reflect your business you should be able to reap many of the benefits of office artwork discussed above. Get started to boost creativity, productivity and give your employees a more positive experience at work.

Written By
Hannah Rogers is a Content Specialist with a focus on HR topics. She regularly discusses topics including workplace diversity and discrimination, company perks and more.
Human Resources Today