Art in the workplace: a practical guide

Interior décor has the power to deeply affect the users of the space. So it doesn’t come as a surprise that an office with bare walls and sterile spaces isn’t an ideal place for employees to thrive.

Colours, furniture, live plants and, perhaps surprisingly, works of art all have the power to give character to an office space - and deeply affect its employees. Let’s explore how.

Why do people visit museums? The simple answer is, because viewing a piece of art and being in the same room with it can create positive feelings and emotions in the observers. So it’s not too hard to believe that appropriately chosen pieces of art can help employees express creativity and support work performance in the office.

Driving creativity while healing stress

Stress is a killer – literally. Long-term stress tires the body and weakens all its defence mechanisms. Of course, art on the walls is not a panacea that completely prevents stressful situations, but it can reduce the overall level of employee stress, as shown by research conducted by Cass Business School for Forbes magazine.

In a survey including 800 employees, 78% of respondents confirmed that the presence of art in the workplace helped their stress levels decrease. An interesting result here is the division by gender. A total of 80% of women surveyed, compared with 65% of men, said that art was important to them as a stress reliever. Interestingly this could mean that when picking art for an office space, it may be useful to consider the composition of the team.

The right tones

Colour can stimulate our brains in interesting ways. The psychology of colours shows that strong greens (closer to natural shades) together with contrasting combinations of blue and red are most beneficial to human beings’ creativity for example.

In addition to wall art, these colours can also be incorporated into office furniture, walls and other interior elements. The palette combinations are infinite.

Art and productivity

A study conducted at the University of Exeter shows the positive effect of interior art on employee productivity. All participants were asked to perform the same tasks in four different types of office environments, which only differed by the amount of decorative elements. The spaces ranged from a completely barren space to an office showcasing art and plants.

The result? Participants were 11% more productive in offices containing plants and paintings and 32% more productive in a space where they also had a personal approach to art in their immediate area.

A vehicle for brand identity

Here the opportunities are limitless - art is a great way to showcase a company's identity. From the type of art and how it is displayed, to colours and textures art can say a lot about a brand and its culture.

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