How Art Boosts Employee Productivity

Studies have shown that 77% of employees who work remotely report greater productivity, and 37% claim that taking breaks throughout the day is how they do it. But with half of today’s business leaders wanting employees back in the office, how can they expect to reap these productivity benefits in an in-person work environment? Turns out, art may be the answer

Create “Out of Office” Spaces that Spark Imagination 

Because taking breaks is shown to improve productivity, employers would do well to create office environments that account for this. Lounge areas, outdoor space, and other workplace amenities can provide much needed respite for busy employees – especially those tied to their computers.

Evidence shows that too much screen time results in headaches, fatigue, and even poor vision in the long-term. An engaging office art experience gives employees reason to leave their desk and enjoy moments of mental relaxation. 

And despite what your boss may tell you, occasional “mind wandering” may actually make us more productive in the long run. Studies show that daydreaming doesn’t slow our mental stimulation at all. In fact, letting our imaginations run can help refocus our attention, strengthen our memory, improve problem-solving abilities, and increase productivity. And few things help stimulate our imagination better than experiencing artwork. A few short walks around an art-filled office, like the premier Rev 360, may be exactly what employees need to be more productive and engaged overall.

Engage Employees in Creating the Art Experience

Beyond elevating the office space, evidence suggests that art collections selected with input from employees could have a tremendous impact on productivity.

In a University of Exeter study, participants were asked to work for one hour in four different office environments, some ranging from stark and sterile and others including artwork and plants selected by the participants themselves. Results showed that participants who worked in an art-filled office were 15% more productive and had fewer complaints than those working in a boring, corporate cubicle. Even more notable is that the number doubled for those who could select and arrange the art themselves.

Such results suggest that when employees can have a personal say in the selection and arrangement of their office’s artwork, they feel more engaged and committed to their workplace, and therefore more productive. 

For example, at Denver Water’s new 35-acre operations complex, artist Rik Sargent’s sculpture, “Forests to Faucets,” demonstrates a deep understanding of the city’s water pathways, from wild mountain streams to the faucets of local citizens. That’s because it was co-created by Denver Water employees, who molded forests, animals, and notable water system sites into Sargent’s clay model, identifying important landmarks and infusing personal stories into the installation. 

By marrying Sargent’s vision and artistic talent with employee knowledge and passion, the installation has become a major point of pride for Denver Water workers, meanwhile strengthening the organization’s overall brand story. 

Leverage Art to Reflect Your Company’s Brand, Values, and Culture

Communicating a company’s brand is just another benefit of an office art program. In fact, 79% of business leaders we surveyed said that buying and installing a permanent art collection is a great way to align with and build a space’s brand. 

Take Home Advisor, for example. When the company set out to consolidate multiple offices into one large headquarters in downtown Denver, our team assisted in developing a clear brand vision for their new art collection, designed to make employees feel “at home.” Their new two-story workplace now features a range of themed conference rooms and informal gathering spaces, as well as playful amenities like a slide and ping pong tables. From the two-story painted mural to groupings of found objects and curiosities, the final collection reflects various interpretations of “home” and connects both employees and visitors to the Home Advisor brand.

Altogether, connecting a company’s brand to the space its employees inhabit can only lead to positive impacts on productivity. When employees are immersed among artworks that visually reflect their company’s values and history, they experience feelings of purpose and pride, motivating increased productivity and overall performance. 

So, as employers seek to engage their staff in a post-pandemic landscape, they’ve got to think outside the box – especially if they want to maintain the productivity levels of remote workers. An authentic art collection is the perfect backdrop for employees to take productivity-boosting breaks, let their imaginations wander, and become more connected to their company’s brand, values, and culture.

Martha Weidmann

Martha Weidmann

CEO & Co-Founder