Art in the Office: Why You Need It image

Art in the Office: Why You Need It

18 September 2020

“All your various sensory, space, and user experiences influence your emotional state. I’m interested in moving people to a positive mood and ensuring they stay there. When we’re positive, we think more broadly, and that means we’re better at problem-solving, apt to think more creatively, and get along better with others.” –Sally Augustin, PhD

In the above quote, Dr. Augustin, a practicing environmental and design psychologist, highlights the importance that your surroundings can have on your mood, productivity, creativity, and problem-solving. And she’s not the only one. The research conducted on this topic has largely supported the notion that art and other digital images within office spaces can positively impact workers.

In this blog, we’ll chat about why art is so essential in the office. 

What does the research say?

Dr. Craig Knight has studied the psychology of working environments for 12 years at the University of Exeter. His research group is called Identity Realization (IDR), and they have conducted research studies about the most effective work environments.

One particular study asked participants to do an hour’s work in four different types of office spaces…

  1. Lean: The space contained only the things necessary to do the tasks.
  2. Enriched: The space featured art and plants which were already arranged.
  3. Empowered: The space contained the same art and plants, but participants could choose where to put them.
  4. Disempowered: The space allowed participants to arrange the art and plants themselves, but the experimenter then undid these personal touches and reverted the enriched layout.

The results of the study demonstrated that people who worked in the enriched office (option #2) worked about 15 percent more quickly than their peers. They also had fewer health complaints. The disempowered folks who had their personal touches undermined and the lean group had the same productivity levels.

What does this mean?

In short, art is a tool for culture, employee ownership, and wayfinding. Workplaces can often look a bit “cookie-cutter” if employers aren’t careful. Yet, employees’ brains need inspiration, and art can be a way to convey key brand messages. Based on the above results, you don’t need to give your employees a bunch of agencies in the decorating. When you’re designing your office space, don’t go for a lean design scheme. Incorporate art and plants into the design along with essential furniture. This way, it’s something that benefits your employees but isn’t something they have to consciously think about.

How do I choose the right art for my office space?

Keep in mind that the goal is to incorporate positive mood-inducing images that help your employees stay productive. Here are some examples…

  • Grassy areas
  • Green foliage
  • View of the horizon
  • Gently flowing bodies of water
  • Artwork that shows people being cared for

You can also use PLASTARC , TurningArt or Collective spaces which will either do art consulting for workplaces or perform art services for offices. They can help guide you on appropriate choices for your workspace.

Final thoughts

Art for your office is one way to increase positive company culture and increase productivity. Installing thoughtfully chosen pieces can help your employees in more ways than you realize. Make it an integral part of your office’s design and watch your business improve!