Imagine a world where everyone is excited to come to work and spend the day in the office. Where you’re consistently motivated to think creatively, have the energy to think out of the box, and are able to stay on task and plow through your to-do list. No, this isn’t a pipe-dream. It’s the power of art. And employers around the world are taking notice.
"Headlight" by Elaine Li (left), "Hi Shops" by Kevin Mak, "Pink Matter" by Vivien Liu (right)
It’s increasingly clear that the way we work is evolving. No more are we tied to dreary office cubicles with no personality for eight hours a day, five days a week. Instead, many of us are choosing alternative ways to work. For some, that might be alternating work-from-home days with days in the office. For others, it could involve regularly working from design-forward co-working spaces or even permanently working from exotic locales. The result is a growing trend for employers to make their offices more inviting to encourage employees to want to be there.
TL:DR: the traditional, boring office is dead, and offices are being upgraded and elevated with things that speak to corporate culture and encourage a better working environment. Trust us - you don’t want to get left behind. It’s time to start adding a hefty dose of good art—or perhaps some intriguing photography art prints—to the office.
"Golden Days" by Bamboo Scenes artist Elaine Li
We already know that art can elevate an office’s look and can say a lot about a company’s ethos and ties to the local community. But what exactly are the benefits that are driving this rush to insert wall decor in workspaces? Well, according to commercial real estate brokers Colliers, viewing art can “improve empathy, lower anxiety, restore cognitive energy, and help develop critical thinking skills.” Not enough to convince you? There’s more.
TL:DR: the traditional, boring office is dead, and offices are being upgraded and elevated with things that speak to corporate culture and encourage a better working environment.
Deutsche Bank is just one of the many companies that ascribe to this belief in the power of art. The German investment bank has built a portfolio of 60,000 pieces of art, making it the biggest corporate art collection in the world, and even has an “Arthothek” where employees can get expert art advice. The bank told The Guardian that 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’s happening in the world.
But let’s break down what the tangible benefits of art in the workplace are:
Take a Break
With computers and other device screens dominating our lives—especially in the office—we already know that we’re supposed to take frequent breaks to rest our eyes and muscles. But displaying art in the office environment takes these breaks to the next level. Colors and shades force the eyes to work differently. Employees can consider the artwork, allowing their brains to think differently and focus on something else. The result can be a marked increase in focus and motivation. When an employee gets back to their desk—after just a quick break— they’re ready to get back to work. And what employer wouldn’t want that?
"Hope" by Bamboo Scenes artist Kelvin Yuen
Taking that mental and physical break—and spending it considering a photography art print or other wall decor—can also boost creativity. Art forces people to think in different ways by inspiring new thoughts, creating stories behind the artwork, and creating new connections in the brain. All of this thinking can help an employee think more creatively to solve problems and generate new ideas. That can only be a good thing when you need a bold solution to a difficult client or perhaps an out-of-the-box answer to a crisis.
In fact, studies from Seoul’s Hongik University found that people “with open attitudes toward aesthetic experiences were more likely to be inspired, and therefore better able to generate creative solutions, and that the power of art appreciation, when extended to a business environment, can help to enhance performance in product design, brand-naming, and problem-solving skills.”
"Purple Matter" by Vivien Liu (left), "Old Fashion" by Sharon Liu (right)
Dr. Craig Knight, a professor at the University of Exeter who’s spent decades studying the psychology of offices, found that offices that were “enriched” (read: had art and plants arranged throughout) worked 15% faster than those in “lean” (no-frills) offices; if employees were able to arrange the art and plants themselves (an “empowered” office), this number increased to about 30%. But why? According to Knight, it’s because an enriched workspace simply makes people happier and more motivated to work—and art is a quick, easy way to do this.
The takeaway for employers? Give your staff a little leeway when it comes to decorating the office and their workspace. They’ll be much better off—and so will your business.
"Journey into the Evergreen" by Bamboo Scenes artist Jeremy Cheung
Build Company Culture
In conversation, we take cues not just from what someone says, but from how they say it and their body language, among other things. Similarly, when it comes to understanding corporate culture, it’s not just about what a business says. A company’s office says a lot about its culture, and having good wall art throughout the workspace can be a visual representation of its values, character, and culture. It offers non-verbal cues about the company to clients and employees and can also be markers of inclusivity and community.
"Mong Kok Casualty" by Bamboo Scenes artist Gideon de Kock
The Local Touch
Carefully selecting the art in your office can also be a good way to convey that your company is supportive of the local art scene. Whether you choose to display Hong Kong street photography prints, classic landscape views, or compelling paintings by local artists, you’re creating a sense of place and showcasing your connection to the city.
"That Soft Pink Matter" by Bamboo Scenes artist Vivien Liu
If you’re considering adding some art to your office, why not reach out to Bamboo Scenes for some expert advice? We can introduce you to our vibrant collection of art prints of Hong Kong by local photographers, help you figure out what will work in your workplace, and even guide you on installation. Just send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org