Over the past few decades, many companies have made value-engineering a standard practice in order to regulate tight design budgets. This process involves eliminating or finding cheaper alternatives to elements that are deemed not essential to required functions; but does cost-saving come at a cost?
Artwork is often one of the first elements to be eliminated from a design budget. A pretty picture is certainly not essential to the required functions of any business, and millennial employees would rather have kombucha on tap and ping pong tables anyways. Right? Not according to the research.
In a 2018 survey from FormaSpace, millennials ranked the aesthetic of the office as the third most enticing incentive that enhanced recruiting preferences. This outranks free lunch, snacks, and even amenities like workout spaces. We also know that of those employees, 73 percent said their perceptions of their workplace and their work experiences would change if the art were removed.
The survey of over 800 employees working for 32 companies that currently display art within the workplace has revealed it is uniquely valuable:
- 78% of employees surveyed agreed workplace art helps reduce stress.
- 94% agreed it enhances the work environment.
- 84% agreed it was evidence of their employer’s interest in improving the quality of life in and out of the workplace.
- 64% agreed it increases creativity and productivity.
- 67% agreed it enhances morale.
- 82% indicated that art is important in the work environment.
- 73% wanted more art in their workplace, claiming it helps make them feel more ‘motivated’ and ‘inspired.”
Modern corporations are noticing how integral the design of their facilities is for the productivity and wellness of their employees. Designers, developers, and corporate real estate specialists have developed a standard for buildings called the WELL Building Standard.
“Integrating aesthetically pleasing elements into a space can help building occupants derive a measure of comfort or joy from their surroundings. The incorporation of design elements and artwork to a space can create a calming environment able to improve occupant mood.”
– 2019, Well Building Standard
The standard offers guidelines for the optimal amount and locations to place artwork. Regular inclusion of artwork in locations occupied by employees and high traffic areas helps to get the most out of an investment in artwork. The areas most in need of artwork according to them are:
- Entrances and lobbies
- All regularly occupied space greater than 28 m² [300 ft²]
- Corridors over 9 m [30 ft] in length end in artwork
So is artwork in the office necessary? If your company is concerned about employee morale, productivity and wellness, the answer is an emphatic yes. But how do you choose artwork that will actually lead to positive outcomes?
Much research concludes images of nature improve employee wellness. In fact, a study found that when 200 participants were completing a set of difficult tasks, specific types of imagery could help them keep their composure. Those who were working near landscape imagery were significantly less likely to get angry or frustrated while performing their work. By reducing task-specific frustrations through artwork, workplaces can cut back on interpersonal aggression, turnover, and stress levels.
The artwork in an office can also be an outlet for expressing your corporate values, or creating a connection between your workplace and your local culture and community. For example, a figurative piece may express the values of diversity, inclusion and teamwork. Images created by local artists or of local landmarks and scenery can help tie the environment into its surrounding community.
If you aren’t sure where to find evidence-based artwork that suits your budget or is appropriately sized for your walls, an Art Consultant can offer free design advice and handle sourcing and installation for you.