“In our go, go, go culture, it can feel like we spend almost all of our lives working, which is why I always say if you’re not happy in your work, you’re not happy in life.  A big part of work satisfaction relates to the physical spaces we inhabit. “

Tommy Smythe.  On workspaces with creative flare…House and Home, September 2016

Dr. DePieri, of the DePieri Clinic, reveals that having artwork hung throughout his facility creates a more relaxed atmosphere in the work place.

“The art creates an environment where both our staff and visitors feel more at ease.  We tend to live in a hectic and fast paced environment to begin with and the nature of our business tends to add to the stress level for both staff and clients from time to time.  The art tends to put people more at ease and provides a wonderful distraction from everyday life” remarks Joe Maciel of Maciel and Company.

Offices or open plan work areas are the best type of workplace to consider displaying art. People in this environment will most likely be working on a computer screen for long periods of time. Optometrists and other health professionals recommend looking away from the screen every 20 minutes or so to give your eyes a break. Artwork will provide a well-needed visual distraction to prevent excessive strain from computer monitors.
Contrary to what employer may say, being a little distracted at work is not always a bad thing. If the object of your distraction is a work of art, it can actually boost productivity, lower stress and increase employee wellbeing.

This is, according to Dr Craig Knight, who has studied the psychology of working environments for 12 years at the University of Exeter, Devon, England.  “There is a real tendency to opt for sanitized, lean workspaces, designed to encourage staff to just get on with their work and avoid distraction,” he explains.

BUT there is NOT a branch of science in the world which believes this approach boosts productivity or makes for happier workers, according to Knight. “If you enrich a space people feel much happier and work better; a very good way of doing this is by using art.”

“In 12 years we have never found that lean offices create better results; and the more involved people are in the enrichment process, the more they are able to realize a part of themselves in the space,” explains Knight.
He is emphatic that by art he doesn’t mean so-called “motivational posters”, which say things like “There is no I in team” or “Whatever the problem, be part of the solution”, because these don’t work at all.

Also, Friedhelm Hütte, global head of art at Deutsche Bank, states “Art offers a window into the social, political and economic aesthetics around the world and this makes it a good inspirational fit for our business because we live on developing new ideas for clients and reacting to what is happening in the world…I don’t believe the art makes every person who looks at it inherently more creative but it gets them involved on a more intellectual level about innovation around the world.”

Art is a way of retaining staff and encouraging them to be in the office, at a time when people increasingly want to work remotely, says Alex Heath, managing director at International Art Consultants, which advises workplaces on acquiring art.

“Some companies consciously use art as part of their retention strategy,” he says. “Aesthetic in the truest sense means energy-giving which is what a workplace needs, rather than a bland, industrial environment which can be more like giving workers a dose of anesthetic.”

“A momentary distraction is definitely not a bad thing in the workplace. Art has historically always been about escape, and we all need an escape sometimes.”

By Louise Lambert
Westside Weekly, Sept 2016