Great Designs: Artwork in the Office


Did you know that looking at beautiful art can give as much joy as being head over heels in love? So if you want your staff to love you, hang lots of pictures on the office walls! To be serious, there is a lot of scientific research about the positive effects Art can have in an office environment. And our latest Great Designs campaign blog explores just that...


A University College London study took brain scans of people as they looked at classic works of Art and recorded the blood flow. They discovered that the increase in blood flow was directly in proportion to how much the painting was liked. Professor Semir Zeki, who lead the research, said: “when you look at art – whether it is a landscape, a still life, an abstract or a portrait – there is strong activity in that part of the brain related to pleasure. The blood flow increased for a beautiful painting just as it increases when you look at somebody you love. It tells us Art induces a feel good sensation direct to the brain."



Benefits of Art in the Workplace

In the United States, the Business Committee for the Arts and the International Association for Professional Art Advisors surveyed a wide range of companies that have workplace art collections. They found that 78% of businesses thought Art in the workplace helps reduce stress, 65% that it increases creativity, and 77% that it encouraged people to express themselves.


Cass Business School in London also explored the effects of Art in the workplace on employees. Whilst a similar proportion of men and women agreed that the interior design of their office had an effect on their work, more men than women rated Art as one of the most important elements of interior office design. Interestingly, a much larger percentage of women than men reported positive effects on their creativity (54% of women; 47% of men), stress reduction (80% of women; 66% of men), and general well-being (90% of women; 71% of men).


A new era of artwork in the office


Are we entering a new era of artwork in the office?



 At the University of Exeter, Dr Craig Knight has explored the benefits of Art in the office and agrees that it will boost productivity, lower stress and increase wellbeing. “If you enrich a space people feel much happier and work better; a very good way of doing this is by using art.”*


The study asked participants to do an hour’s work in different types of office space: lean (containing only the necessary things); enriched (with Art and plants) and; empowered (where people were allowed to choose where the Art and plants should be placed). The results were remarkable: people working in the enriched office worked 15% quicker than those in the lean office; but people in the empowered space worked 30% quicker.


Companies which recognise and value the role of Art in the office include Microsoft, Deutsche Bank, and LVMH.


Whilst they have the budget to invest in original art by well known artists, you don’t have to think big to get the same benefits. Create the same effect by buying high quality prints, or look out for the work of talented local artists - who knows, you may find yourself investing in the next Picasso!


*A note of caution on the definition of ‘Art’: Knight does not mean ‘motivational posters’ which were found to not work at all!



If you’ve been inspired to make changes to your office, contact us to discuss how our award winning interior office designers can refurbish your office incorporating your favourite artwork.