JOHANNESBURG – 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 percent 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 chief executive 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 significant 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.
“And even though co-working spaces such as the Business Exchange do address this to a certain extent, many of these sites and corporate offices are still uninspiring when it comes to pieces of art, whether that is a painting, a mural, or even a sculpture,” says Seinker.
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.
Perhaps the time has come to approach the aesthetics of an office from a fresh perspective. Offices need to be more than just 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? 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.
Co-working spaces are heading in the right direction with more and more of these spaces investing in creative pieces. At TBE, Seinker feels passionate about art and, as a result, has continued to partner with recognised local artists as well as up-and-coming artists.
Currently, TBE has a number of high-value art on its walls. This includes pieces from critically-acclaimed artists such as Conrad Botes, William Kentridge, Kim Lieberman, and Willem Boshoff, as well as other artists from all over the world.
“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 ways to engage with employees in different ways and as a way to keep employees 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.