Art for art’s sake? add health and productivity

Businesses that have artwork on display in their offices are brilliant, in my book. I’m not saying that just because I’m an artist and think every office should have my artwork on their walls. More that it’s been proven – having artwork displayed at your place of work can have a really positive effect on your wellbeing. 

I’m not necessarily talking global scale, like Deutsche Bank with 60,000+ pieces on show in 900 offices around the world. Even one or two carefully chosen pieces can make an impact on several levels.

There’s the obvious, like giving staff something different to look at for a while, aside from screens, manila envelopes and spreadsheets. Art is subjective and allows people’s minds to wander and wonder. It encourages discussion with other people too – and perhaps people you might not necessarily talk to in your everyday role at work. These are highly important factors in employee’s wellbeing.

An article in the Guardian titled ‘Art Works’ supports this,

Contrary to what your boss might say, being distracted at work is not always a bad thing. If the object of your distraction is a work of art, it can actually boost productivity, lower stress and increase wellbeing.’

Art displayed in client areas makes a lasting impression and can show glimpses of a company’s personality. It can be inspirational and aspirational and demonstrate a commitment to the community by showing that the company are supportive of local artists – another plus point for the company, visitors and clients.

Margaret Hodge, former Minister for Culture said: 

‘Our wellbeing is vital to our health and to our effectiveness at work and in the community. the place of art in creating and supporting feelings of wellbeing is vital.’

I have been fortunate enough to have delivered several corporate commissions and so know first-hand what a difference art can make to an office space. Investment bank Brewin Dolphin commissioned me to provide paintings for their meeting areas and staff room for their relocation to the south coast.  I supplied three paintings with Brighton themes for them, and in their words:

‘We are delighted when clients ask us about the art; it always starts a meeting off on the right foot’.

I was approached this year by Berry & Lamberts Solicitors, a local legal practice, to display some of my vintage-style prints in the waiting area – freshly decorated in subtle grey but with no art work at a ll, it was quite a sombre space. At my first office visit, the receptionist told me they had taken down an antique map of Tunbridge Wells and that clients keep asking where it has gone. I frequently use old maps in my artwork so this was music to my ears and she brought it out of storage for me to see. I took a scan of the map and painted two figures in vintage fashion onto it, one city gent and one lady in a stunning dress at each side. Their eyes gaze across the town but don’t meet; this was designed to subtly represent Berry & Lambert’s services in dispute management and family law – I wonder how many people will ever notice! I added a subtle wash of turquoise to the clothing to bring in their corporate branding. Their commissioned painting is now hanging in the client waiting room and Berry & Lamberts are delighted with its new lease of life.

‘The combination of vintage characters on top of maps of the local area really fit with our image as a local law firm with strong links to the past but a vision for the future…… We could not be happier! The picture has pride of place in the waiting room.’

If you know of any office walls crying out for some bespoke artwork or much in need of a focal and talking point, or some staff who are desperate for something to gaze upon and talk about, please send them my way. Make room in your personal and business life for great art.


Delivering art to St Barnabas Hospice, West Sussex

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