0845 094 1255

The true value of workplace art lies in how it makes people feel

Posted on January 4, 2016 by Charles Marks

Awaiting Image

Hereford4-850x390The absence of art in a workplace often signifies a lack of commitment to that space by an organisation’s management just as much as a failure to adorn our walls at home betrays an unloved dwelling. So, conversely art can help a company define and express its brand identity, as well as doing all those things we know are most commonly associated with workplace art including improving wellness and productivity and instilling in people a sense of pride in their surroundings. It can also help both employees and visitors feel more calm and at home in the office. Thoughtful workplace art becomes emblematic of its context; a painting or a sculpture can become a tool for wayfinding, remind us of the natural world beyond the office walls and boost team morale.

What this means in practical terms is that the true value of workplace art is in how it can make people feel, or how it can influence their thoughts. We know that when people feel better they perform better. This makes artwork particularly valuable in specific areas, especially when it is not overtly about the corporate brand. The values of the organisation can be expressed without crudely drawing on logos or corporate colours and iconography.

While some organisations make half-hearted attempts at dressing bare walls, others undertake rigorous and inventive asset management programmes. Somewhere in between there is a worthwhile strategy accessible to, and imperative for any organisation. This is to focus on displaying a good selection of art that helps to meet the company’s objectives, rather than simply amassing a collection of ‘investment’ art.

One important point to remember is that art doesn’t have to be elitist, neither in its origins, nor in its selection. Perhaps companies might consider involving staff in art selection. A democratic process of selecting artwork is shown to boost morale. In today’s offices, we are seeing a shift away from the ‘assembly line’ style of rows of benching to suit optimum real estate aims, to a more diverse office landscape with layouts offering more variety and choice of work settings. It is hoped that by soliciting feedback from employees, art selection will complement these work settings better.

Main image: Wall manifestations from our installation at Herefordshire Housing