Art in the Workplace Increases Happiness & Motivation

Art in the Workplace Increases Happiness & Motivation

Let’s be honest, offices aren’t usually the most exciting places to be. Unless you work for Google, it’s probably a relatively drab environment, stuffed full of desks and uninspiring décor. But could finding new inspiration for your office décor make a difference to your day-to-day working life?

Office suppliers Viking recently surveyed 1,500 British workers, along with residents of Austria, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands, hoping to find out the importance of workplace art to employees.

Does Art Matter?

The research sought to discover just how office workers feel about decorating their dreary work spaces and making art an important part of their workplace environment.

In the UK, 54% of respondents said that they think it’s important for every workplace to have artwork to help brighten up the office. This is even more important to workers in one of the art capitals of the world, Italy, where 90% said they think every office should have some form of artwork.

Viking also challenged respondents if they could match famous artwork to the artist. Supporting the view that Italians have a fine eye for art, Italian respondents came either top or second across all European countries when asked to do this.

It may not feel like having art in the office is something worth prioritizing, but the evidence has shown how this seemingly small factor can have us all feeling happier and more content at our desks.


Art Reduces Stress and Breeds Happiness

We can see how artwork has the potential to make workers feel happier at work, but why is it so important to them?

Perhaps it’s the escapism felt from gazing into an image of a beautiful landscape, but half of the employees said that art has a noticeable effect on reducing their stress levels, with 53% saying that art in the office made them feel generally happier at work.

In Britain, 41% said that artwork in the office helps to increase their productivity, something that all business owners might want to pay attention to.

Elsewhere, 37% think that it helps improve their social skills. We all know that working in a sociable environment can make us feel relaxed and provide a much more pleasant place to work. Being able to have a quick chat between tasks can be a good way to briefly switch off and refocus, plus it’s a great opportunity to talk about last night’s TV!

If art helps bring out your employees’ social side, then this will create a pleasant atmosphere in the office and improve how teams work together.


Employers Just Don’t Understand the Demand

With employee’s view on artwork in the office made very clear in the survey, managers should be made aware of its importance. But what’s the current state of affairs when it comes to the inclusion of artwork in the office?

The results don’t look great. One-third of UK workers surveyed said that they don’t currently have enough artwork in their office – and they think it’s because the company doesn’t understand its importance. This can leave an employee feeling like their employer doesn’t value their well being at work.

It’s not just a lack of understanding; a lack of budget is also leading to poor provision of artwork in the office.

38% of workers said their employer doesn’t dedicate enough of their budget towards art. This could be particularly hard to take for employees who see their employer investing in other parts of the business that has no impact on them personally.

Let’s face it, as employees we all want to feel valued and understood by our employers. It gives us a vital boost to help motivate us to do the best job possible.


Keeping it Traditional Works

So, we’ve deduced that workers want to see more artwork, but what type of art do workers want to see?

In the UK, a majority of 30% of employees want to see traditional paintings on the walls of their office, with a further 27% preferring photography and 19.6% wanting prints. These types of artwork are ideal to not only brighten the place up but also provide inspiration and escapism.

In terms of style, 24% wanted to see contemporary artwork and 21% wanted abstract art on the walls of their workplace. All this shows that UK employers wouldn’t have a difficult task on their hands to improve the look of their offices and create a pleasant and nurturing environment for staff.


In fact, involving employees in the process could make it a lot easier to make sure you’re hitting the right notes when selecting artwork, especially with 42% saying they thought their employers should ask their opinion when it comes to office decor.

With more employees wanting some say on what artwork goes up on the walls, and the morale boost involvement in making company decisions can bring, it’s perhaps surprising to find out that only 28% of Brits had a way of expressing their opinions. They seem to be slipping well behind the rest of Europe, as 54% of workers in Italy said they’re involved when it comes to artwork in their offices.


The Perfect Art Across Europe

As this research was carried out all over Europe, it gives a clear indication of how tastes and styles differ across the continent. Here are the main preferences for artwork from European workers:

The UK: In the UK, 24% of workers said they’d prefer contemporary style art to adorn their office walls. This was followed by artwork centered around wildlife subjects, which 19% suggested they’d prefer, giving them a taste of serene nature in their workplace.

Austria: There was certain inspiration drawn from the amazing scenery in Austria, with 32% wanting alpine landscapes and 30% asking for wildlife. On top of this, 37% said they’d prefer humor in their artwork, giving them something to smile about when work gets stressful.

Germany: German workers were perhaps looking to capture that holiday feeling and showed a preference for coastal scenes, with 30% choosing this as their preference. Another 30% said they prefer classical styles.

Italy: As we’ve seen, the Italians know what they’re talking about when it comes to art. 35% wanted to see beach landscapes in their artwork – potentially giving them some escapism from office life and the opportunity to visualize themselves on a deckchair in the sun.

The Netherlands: In Holland, 35% of respondents wanted to see photography used in office artwork and 37% prefer contemporary styles. When it comes to the actual content, 20% said they’d like to see the peaceful tranquility of a riverside scene.

As this research shows, artwork shouldn’t be underestimated and can provide a great way for employees to feel more relaxed and sociable in the workplace, as well as more productive. It might be easy for employers to presume that art is just a costly way to make the walls look better, but this research proves that employees hold it in much higher regard.

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