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The Benefits of Art in the Workplace

Research shows art can boost well-being and increase productivity

You may feel that it is obvious that good art can enhance the atmosphere of the workplace and improve staff morale but not all employers see it.


In what must surely be increasingly seen as a Dickensian attitude to worker motivation, many employers still baulk at unnecessary distractions in the office. But, could being distracted at work improve staff well-being and morale and actually lead to increased productivity?

Dr Craig Knight of the Department of Psychology at the University of Exeter thinks so and in a 14 year study called Identity Realisation or IDR he and his team have produced the science to back this up.

Dr Knight believes that "if you enrich a space people feel much happier and work better; a very good way of doing this is by using art." (Guardian article 21 Jan 2016, Art works: how art in the office boosts staff productivity by Kirstie Brewer) This argument against sanitised, distraction free workplaces (or 'lean' spaces in the IDR model) seems to be a compelling one.

The IDR team studied and recorded the effect of Lean (containing only those things necessary to the employees' tasks), Enriched (where art and plants were added), Empowered (where the participants chose the arrangement of the same art and plants) and Disempowered (where the participants arrangement of the art and plants were then undone and reverted back to the enriched layout).

The results were staggering. The Enriched model showed a 15% increase in the speed at which tasks were completed and reduced health issues among the participants. In the Empowered scenario these improvements doubled again. While in the Disempowered model the results were the same as in the Lean scenario.

Carefully chosen contemporary art in the workplace can help to promote your company brand; showing your company to be dynamic and forward thinking, trustworthy and dependable and supportive of art and culture. 


Supporting local and regional artists helps to build an important bridge to the wider community and place your business in the heart of the community.

Find out about our art consultancy for business service here

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