The Art of Working

If there was one thing I learnt from out recent ‘workification/homification’ event it was that one size does not fit all when it comes to working environments.

Knowledge workers are very lucky in the respect that we can work pretty much anywhere and therefore often have choice in where we pitch up each day. I think, given the choice, many of us would choose a vibrant space over a run of the mill one.   By vibrant I mean somewhere with appealing things to look at. For me, this is often a coffee shop as I like the buzz and people watching, but for others this could mean a library or gallery. 

Moving away from dull and featureless workplaces and developing inspiring environments is not a new concept and investing in art for offices has proven benefits – it can boost productivity, lower stress and increase wellbeing. It’s definitely something that the team at Deutsche Bank believes in. An article in the Guardian earlier this year told us the German investment bank has the biggest collection of corporate art in the world, with some 60,000 art works across 900 offices in 40 countries. Friedhelm Hütte, global head of art at Deutsche Bank said “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 is happening in the world.”

In his study of Lean, Enriched, and Empowered Offices, Dr Craig Knight, IDR Director at the University of Exeter, concluded that people who worked in enriched offices (featuring ready arranged art and plants) worked about 15% quicker than those in the lean offices (containing only the things necessary to do the tasks) and had fewer health complaints. He told the Guardian “If you enrich a space people feel much happier and work better; a very good way of doing this is by using art.”

The case for art in the office continues to add up. Another study, by Cass Business School, explored the perceptions of employees towards art in the workplace and its effect on themselves, the clients or company image. Both male (64%) and female (73%) respondents agreed that the design of their workplace has an effect on their working day and male respondents rated art (39%) as one of the most important elements of interior design of the workplace. 

A young business that firmly believes that art shouldn’t be confined to galleries is Acrylicize. You may remember that we collaborated with them during this year’s Clerekenwell Design Week, creating the show stopping ‘world’s first filing cabinet fountain’!  James Burke, co-founder and creative director, and his team have a huge portfolio of one-off art installations that tell a story. They fuse art and design to explore organisational identity and their pieces exemplify brands in artistic ways - helping to create joy and a connection to the place they work for employees. 

This is why we wanted to know more about how they do what they do and what impact their art has on the companies they work with. So we’ve invited James to our showroom on Thursday 24 November to share the Acrylicize story.  If you’d like to join us, simply email us at events@bisley.com.

Could it be that art in the office helps to get those nomadic knowledge workers back?