Oscar Wilde once said, "All art is quite useless." I think he was wrong. And so do Google, Bloomberg, and Deutsche Bank.  Art in the workplace relieves stress and boosts productivity and creativeness. Art-filled offices are clearly the way forward for startups, entrepreneurs, and anyone starting a business in 2017.

Research shows that happy employees are, on average, 35 percent more productive. And the environment you work in is a huge factor. That's why companies like Google, Deutsche Bank, and Bloomberg have their offices filled with art. But why would this help?

Science says yes to art

Having art on the walls in the office makes it cool and is conducive to learning. According to professor Alex Haslam, in a study, people working in spaces decorated with plants and pictures were 17 percent more productive than those working in Spartan offices. Another piece of research suggests art in that 78 percent of people thought art reduces stress in the workplace; 64 percent agreed that it increases creativity and productivity; 67 percent agreed it enhances morale, and 77 percent thought it broadens employee appreciation of diversity by encouraging discussions and expression of opinions.

The study went on to show 94 percent of people thought art enhances the work environment; 84 percent thought it shows the company's interest in improving the quality of life in and out of the workplace; 65 percent thought it helps build customer and community relations, and 52 percent thought it leads to networking opportunities.

And it doesn't have to be expensive. Deutsche Bank has the biggest collection of corporate art in the world, with some 60,000 art works across 900 offices in 40 countries. You don't have to do this. Why not have an away day creating art for the office? Or maybe just buy your local college's art painted by local students.

Here's why you should have art in your workplace:

1. Keeps people in the office.

Don't like your employees working from home? Having art in the office obviously makes it a more aesthetically pleasing place to be. So entice your workers from their sofa back into the office with artwork.

Science also says that having art in the office makes employees feel more valued. Craig Knight of the University of Exeter conducted an experiment called the "Identity Realization" of art in the office place. He concludes that "the more involved people are in the enrichment process, the more they are able to realize a part of themselves in the space." 

2. Keeps it interactive.

Bloomberg's Europe headquarters in London has an art installation with a light for every employee in the building. When one of them is logged in, the light is on, and when the person logs off, the light goes out. A Bloomberg employee described how she feels it keeps the company together, despite its being a massive organization. 

3. Daydreaming is good.

The point of the art is to make employees think and to make the daydreams worthwhile. Google has breakout zones with weird and wonderful seats, desks, and wallpapers to spur on daydreaming. Adam Smith, author of The Wealth of Nations, was famed for his daydreams. Maybe your company is harboring the next Adam Smith. Bring in some art to bring this person out. 

 

Published on: Oct 31, 2017
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.