Four Reasons Why You Need Art in Your Office

Art does more than enhance the space it’s in — a carefully curated collection defines the mood and ambience of an environment. This is why office spaces are ideal places to hang works of art, with your employees able to feel their benefits almost immediately. After all, a successful workforce isn’t just about the people in it, but the space itself, and art can help create a happy, inviting place to do business. Having a well-designed office which incorporates decorations and art can be beneficial for a range of reasons — here are four of the most significant.

1. It can alleviate symptoms of stress

Many employees often associate their office with stress, but with a properly designed workspace, this doesn’t have to be the case. A company which supports its employees’ health and wellbeing by actively finding ways to reduce stress will quickly see results in happier, healthier staff who will be less likely to take time off sick. And a great way of relieving stress is having artwork on display in the workplace.

A 2011 study by University of London found that when individuals were subjected to a beautiful painting by some of the world’s greatest artists, the blood flow to the “joy response” parts of the brain increased by 10%. The response was immediate, with the level of blood flow coming in direct relation to how much the viewer liked the piece. This proves that art can promote joy, and it is said to even replicate the feelings of happiness felt when someone looks at a loved one and, as a result, stress levels naturally decrease. Another study by Angela Clow at University of Westminster also revealed that participants who visited an art gallery during their lunch break experienced a significant drop in their levels of cortisol, commonly known as the stress hormone.

If you take a few minutes out of your day to gaze at a beautiful piece of artwork when you’re stressed, it can naturally trigger a feeling of relaxation. The type of art we look at also has an impact — abstract pieces encourage you to figure out their meaning, which hyperactivates your brain’s neurons. In contrast, landscape paintings are pleasant and relaxing to look at, and can improve cognitive function, which is particularly therapeutic to those suffering with depression and anxiety.

2. It encourages creative thinking

The British Council for Offices found that 61% of workers believe that artwork inspires them to think and work more creatively. Looking at art in the office can encourage deep interpretation, thought and consideration of the piece in question, helping you to find that creative spark and apply it to your own work. As such, people tend to prefer impressionist and abstract art, which triggers the imagination. As staying in one place all day, staring at the same blank walls won’t encourage any creative thoughts, having the flexibility to move around and see inspiring pieces of art may help kickstart new ideas. Most importantly, not only will the creatives in your team find artwork motivating, but those who aren’t so innately inventive will as well.

3. It increases productivity

While some employers might think that having artwork in the office is a distraction, that’s simply not the case. In fact, exploring a piece can allow employees to ponder ideas. Since productivity is so key to businesses, many seek ways to increase this. A 2016 study revealed that people who worked in an office with art and plants were 17% more productive than those working in a basic and functional environment with no additional adornments, demonstrating that employees work better in decorated spaces. When you think about it, the performance, mood and wellbeing enhancing effects of art can all help individuals be more productive in the office. The dominant color of the artwork makes a difference too — blue is seen as the most productive, encouraging relaxation and intellectual thought, while yellow promotes happiness and positivity.

Campbell’s Soup Complete Portfolio I By Andy Warhol

4. It can communicate a brand’s message

Placing artwork on your office walls can reflect your company’s history and show its character and personality to employees, clients and partners alike. It also portrays the pride you have in your place of work — for instance, you might have a collection of inspirational art prints on the wall alongside team photos to demonstrate that you’re serious about what you do, while also adding a little bit of fun to the office. While if you’re a global business, you can display art from different parts of the world to demonstrate your international reach, or have pieces that relate to what you do. Whatever you choose, your office artwork can humanize your brand, giving it a personality and making it easier for clients to relate to your team and work.

Pulp Fiction - Banksy

How to choose art for your office

Some things to consider when you’re choosing art for your office is your company branding, which you can convey through carefully selected pieces. For instance, quirky inspirational prints might be preferable for workplaces with younger members of staff, while works which skew closer to fine art might be more suitable if your business is more corporately-minded. For example, you probably wouldn’t select a Michael Vasquez piece depicting gang culture for a legal office, but those in the creative industries may consider the abstract pop art of Gregory Siff or graffiti artist Banksy. A statement piece from the likes of Alec Monopoly or Michael Moebuis can be a perfect choice when paired with the right furniture within a naturally-lit room. The color of the pieces you choose is another consideration, as you’ll want to match the color palette of your office walls and furniture to create an organized, well thought out space.