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Art is a powerful. It is an expression of the human experience, a catalyst for connection, an invitation to communicate. It impacts the way we feel, which ripples out into every action we carry out in the world. It tells stories, elicits laughter and tears and helps people to scratch the surface of the every day.
Many of us will spend a third of our life at work. The way we feel during that time is important, impacting directly on our health and wellbeing as well as the work that we do. Art can contribute to our experience during this substantial chunk of our lives and here’s why.
When an archaeologist discovers art, it always means one thing: humans were here. The Neanderthals made art over 40,000 years ago and this innately human act has evolved with us from the cave into 21st century living.
Art and being human are inextricably entwined and in the H2H age (Human to Human) art is a powerful way to express and celebrate the very essence of humanness in the workplace.
The benefits of art in the workplace are wide reaching and include some positive physical outcomes. Several studies demonstrate a reduction in cortisol (workplace enemy number one) after viewing art. Granted art can’t lighten the workload or extend deadlines but with stress and anxiety contributing to 12.5 million lost days last year, it is an elephant that can afford to be eaten in small pieces.
Who are you?
Wired to make snap decisions, studies show that people make judgements about one another’s sexuality, whether someone is an extrovert or a good leader in fewer than 50 milliseconds (that’s less than the blink of an eye).
The workplace is no different. Art can contribute significantly to a visitor’s first impression, helping them to build up a sense of who you are before they have even spoken to anyone.
Bringing art into your workplace is an exciting opportunity to make the world a better place. Art can go far beyond simple aesthetics and contribute to positive company culture whilst nurturing creative communities.
There are numerous ways to support emerging artists or to use art as a means of raising awareness on important issues close to your heart.
Art is a powerful prompt when it comes to discussion. It’s a subjective topic that demands you share something of yourself with the other person. Because art elicits an emotional response, it encourages us to express how we feel and whether that’s elated or miserable, dropping our guard is the doorway to deeper more meaningful interaction.
In a culture obsessed with productivity, it’s important to know that art can indeed make people more productive. An experiment run by workplace psychologist Dr Craig Knight, demonstrated that the introduction of office art and plants into the workplace could raise productivity by up to 15%. Productivity could be increased further to 30% if participants were given the freedom to arrange the art and plants as they wanted.
Featured artwork on this page – Top image; artist Bob Barron. Middle image; artist Nadine de Klerk.