How Art in the Workplace Can Increase Your Employee Motivation

Guest blog by Joanna Threlfall, HR Commentator

As an employer, keeping your team motivated in the workplace can be a difficult task. Some employers like to put on regular social events, some choose to provide food and drink, there are numerous ways to help keep morale and motivation high. However, one potential motivator that many employers may not think about too often is artwork. Whilst having art hanging in your office could easily be considered a matter of aesthetics, there are also a whole host of motivational qualities that it adds to the workplace.

Office stationery and furniture suppliers Viking recently carried out research, surveying 1,500 British workers as well as residents of Austria, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands, aiming to discover the effects of artwork on the modern workforce.


What’s the Current Situation?

Before looking at the potential employee demand for artwork in the office, the research gave us a clear idea of what the current situation looks like. One-third of UK workers said they didn’t currently feel like there was enough artwork in their office, and this is because their employer doesn’t understand its importance.

Further to this, another 38% said that a lack of budget meant their employer did not provide enough artwork in the office, meaning that artwork falls somewhere far down the priority list when it comes to spending.

Austria falls short as the worst performing European country when it comes to artwork in offices, with only 57% of workers saying there is at least one piece of art in their work environment. Things are a little better in the UK, where two-thirds of workers could say the same.


Why Do Employees Want Art?

For many employers, it may not even cross their minds that the quantity and style of artwork could make a difference to employee motivation. However, the research showed that 54% of UK respondents think it’s important for every workplace to have artwork on display. This desire for artwork is even more prominent when looking across Europe, where as many as 90% of Italian workers recognise the importance of art in their office space.

But what are the reasons for this? According to the research, 50% of employees think art in the workplace makes a difference to reducing their stress levels, with 53% saying that having art on display in the office made them feel generally happier. It’s more than a cliché to state that a happy workforce is a motivated workforce, so these figures should go a long way to helping make your employees happy.

These aren’t the only benefits, 41% of British respondents said they felt having art in their office improved their productivity and 37% said it improved their social skills, leading to a more relaxed atmosphere in the office.


What Do They Want to See?

It’s clear that artwork in the office is an important factor when it comes to motivating staff, but what do they want to see? Art can be a very personal decision and much of it comes down to taste, so perhaps its no surprise that 42% of British respondents think they should have a say in the type of artwork chosen.

The research showed that traditional types of artwork were favoured by British respondents, with 30% preferring paintings, 27% choosing photography and 19% opting for prints. These types of art are relatively easy to get hold of, making it a simple addition to any workspace.

When it comes to style, 24% of British respondents fell in favour of contemporary artwork whilst 21% preferred abstract art. This was a similar theme across Europe, with the exception of Germany, where classical styles of art were the preference.

Despite 42% of British workers saying it’s important to have a say on art in the workplace, only 28% felt they are given the opportunity to express their opinion. Compare this to Italy, where 54% of workers said they have a say, and the UK is some way behind other European countries.

The research clearly shows that art in the workplace is a lot more valuable to workers than we perhaps would have thought. As an employer, there could be a lot to gain from ensuring your office has a good selection of artwork on the walls and involving your staff in the process of choosing it could make a big difference. It’ll show your people that you see their opinions and happiness as a priority, whilst making them feel generally more invested in your company.