The importance of Art in the workplace

Multi ethnic group of young friends sitting with phones at the big table in the modern cafe interior

Multi ethnic group of young friends sitting with phones at the big table in the modern cafe interior

A well-designed office can result in a calming, more productive work environment.

Does staring at great pieces of art make you more productive? The short answer is yes. Research by Exeter University’s School of Psychology in the UK found that people who work in spaces that are decorated with art or plants are 17% more productive than those who work in spaces that are bare and functional. Art provides a talking point within a room, affects the mood of a space and can reduce stress.

A well-designed office can result in a calming, more productive work environment. But how many corporates have taken the time to consider the positive impact art can have on employees?

According to David Seinker, founder and CEO of the Business Exchange (TBE), having creative pieces in a working environment is an easy way to boost the overall look of an area, but also a great way to improve staff morale.

“Even in the digitally connected world, people still spend a significant amount of time at the office. To this end, they want a place that moves beyond the cubicle-centred approach of the 80s and 90s, whether it be a co-working space or a corporate office block.”

Harvard research shows that employees are impacted in five ways when it comes to art in the workplace. It promotes social interactions, elicits an emotional response, facilitates personal connection-making, enhances the environment, and fosters learning.

Seinker says he believes the time has come to approach the aesthetics of an office from a fresh perspective. According to him, offices need to be more than just a space where people go in the morning, put their head down to work, and then leave again in the evening.

According to an analysis by the Huffington Post Australia, the average person will spend 13 years of their life at work. “Wouldn’t you want these 13 years to be filled with moments of inspiration?” Seinker asks.

“Art is able to do that. Instead of giving employees blank or uninspired walls to look at, employers should start considering how they are able to make their staff feel more inspired in their work environment,” says Seinker.

Seinker explains that art as an integral part of his office space, and says the company has continued to partner with recognised local artists as well as up-and-coming artists.

“Currently, TBE has a number of high-value art pieces on its walls. This includes works from critically-acclaimed artists such as Conrad Botes, William Kentridge, and Willem Boshoff, as well as other artists from all over the world,” Seinker explains.

“I have always wanted to create a space that is both functional and inspiring to our members. Art is so much more than something that gets put on a wall. It uplifts the mood and results in a unique environment that is easily distinguished from a typical office,” says Seinker.

On an international level, German investment bank, Deutsche Bank, has the biggest collection of corporate art in the world, with some 60,000 pieces across 900 offices in 40 countries, while IT companies such as Google and Microsoft have long embraced creative spaces as a new way to engage with employees, and to keep them inspired.

“Art has proven to be a wonderful way to shape the style, spirit, and character of the working environment. When chosen with careful consideration, the right piece is more than just a decorative item. It can speak to the soul, reduce stress and inspire people to do more. All of which, in turn, results in happier, more productive employees. It’s a win-win,” Seinker concludes.

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