According to a study led by the British Council for Offices in 2013, 61% of workers believed that the presence of artwork in their workspace inspired them to think and work more creatively.
Art: a booster for productivity?
If art has an obvious aesthetic effect, it seems that it can also serve another important function while displayed in offices. Indeed, employees appear to be more efficient in areas enriched with pieces of art: they are about 15% quicker than those working in lean offices, and even 30% quicker when they have the opportunity to choose the disposal of the artworks.
Conducted by Craig Knight, who studied the psychology of working environment at the University of Exeter, this study highlights the fact that art is something valuable for employees. If they are more productive, it is because art inspires them and allows them to think more broadly. But it also creates a unique atmosphere in the room.
And, this is a point not to neglect: according to Alex Heath, managing director at International Art Consultants, at a time when people increasingly want to work remotely, art is the best way to make them feel home and then retain them. Even more, it would generate a bigger commitment from employees to their firms who are then more inclined to deliver over and above what they are supposed to. And by doing so, the business performance can only grows.
Art: a tool for strategy?
While budgets are always getting tighter, is art really something that firms should focus on? If it was proven that it helps employees enhance all their capabilities, it is also a valuable asset for firms on multiple scales.
Beside the rising business performance, art can be used to promote their brand: indeed, a company can choose pieces of art providing strong messages about their key mission statements, corporate values and goals. In this sense, it would be powerful for instance for an international firm to select artworks from all the countries it operates in. Moreover, it can helps improve the brands’ company if this one shows a particular support to local art or craft initiatives because clients would have the feeling that the company does have human values and is, in this sense, more reliable.
Hence, if artworks are beneficial for companies, they need to be an integrant part of a business strategy. It is not enough to pick randomly some pieces of art: they have to add value to the company.
Still not convinced that art would fit into your offices?
Guess what: it is the Deutsche Bank, the German investment bank, that has the biggest collection of corporate art in the world, with about 60,000 pieces of art across 900 offices in 40 countries. Walk into the corridors and you’ll frequently hear “Let’s meet in Richter” or “Is Freud free at the moment?” because they even surname the meeting rooms with artists’ names. It may seem strange but actually, these are the little things that help create an even bigger sense of community in the firm — and enable people to work more effectively.
So finally, if measuring the exact Return On Investment (ROI) of having artworks in the offices really is a hard task in this case, one may at least talk about a Return On Environment because some benefits provided by the artworks are clearly tangible.