Key Learnings

  • Create a positive first impression of your company culture
  • Customise the artwork to reflect your business narrative and values
  • Help align your employees to the company and culture
  • Support local artists
David Hancock director of PAPER Gallery

Do you think art and business are incompatible? David Hancock, director of PAPER Gallery in Manchester, invites you to look at it differently, explaining how you can improve your employees’ wellbeing and productivity levels through incorporating art into your office environment.

The landscape of office design is changing. Gone are the days of shrinking cubicles, where employees were secluded from their colleagues and surrounded by grey-coloured walls. Many businesses are, however, still reluctant to embrace the biggest creative force of all: art.

You wouldn’t be alone in thinking that the art industry and the business world stand at different ends of the spectrum, the scene of a Western stand-off, where one shouts: “This town ain’t big enough for the both of us!” Perhaps this can be put down to their stereotypical preconceptions.

We even associate them with different times in the day; business is our nine-to-five, it is how we earn our living, while art is our out-of-office time. It is what we spend our money on, be it a gig, a stand-up comedy act, or an exhibition at a local art gallery. Or perhaps it’s because they endorse different behaviours; in a business environment, it is often felt that there is a certain way to do things, whereas the art world invites greater expression and interpretation.

Yet, by bringing these two worlds closer together, is there scope to embrace a more positive office environment? Could your business be missing a trick by refusing to hang artwork on the office walls? The answer is yes and there are many subtle benefits to be gained from including artistic displays in your workplace…

1. Encourage a new generation of employees

The incoming pool of talented candidates will only come knocking at your door for an interview if they feel that your company culture aligns with their own. Using modern art to decorate the walls will leave candidates with a positive first impression – they’ll see that your company is forward-thinking, trendy and creative.

2. Tell your story

The art you display can be customised to your business’ narrative – all the way from its start-up origins, to its international reach in offices around the world. A simple skyline piece over the city of your latest venture can say a lot about how your business is growing. It will impress your clients and make for a great conversation starter.

3. Assert your core values

Art doesn’t have to be an isolated piece of work with little connection to your company and what it is about. Rather the opposite – it can be used to incorporate all that you take pride in; your ideas, your mission, your achievements. Whether that’s inclusivity, reliability or team-work, use art to inspire your employees and remind them that what they do is valuable.

4. Evoke a certain mood

The use of bright colours in meeting rooms can improve focus and efficiency - if your office feels fresh, so will the work you are doing. Similarly, abstract art will inspire abstract ideas, which are vital when brainstorming for that next business campaign. Art containing mellow and calming colours can inspire a mood of relaxation, so use of it in your coffee rooms or canteen will allow your workforce to take a well-deserved break and come back to their desk feeling re-energised.

5. Spur a sense of belonging in your employees

Every business knows its target audience, its tone of voice and its marketing strategy, but this shouldn’t just stop at the office doors. Employees feel happiest at work when they align themselves with their company – when the company’s successes are their successes, and vice versa. This culture can be achieved by surrounding employees with branded pieces of art, from interpretations of the company logo, to using your website’s colour scheme within the art itself. Not only will this bring your brand to life, but also ensure your employees feel personally invested in its future.

6. Connect to the local community

Last but by no means least, the display of art in the workplace, provided by independent local galleries, makes your company not only what you are, but where you are. Supporting grassroots artists shows you care about the creative community and are helping them to flourish.

At PAPER, we proudly support local artists – our ‘Tracing PAPER’ mentoring scheme gives those in the North West an opportunity to develop their work and exhibit it in the gallery.

Instead of worrying about that pile of paper mounting up on your desk, why not think about how it could create breath-taking art for the benefit of everyone in your office.

Bring art in, display it proudly, and you’re sure to reap the benefits soon.

Contributed by David Hancock
Abi Bentley-Cottam
Article by Abi Bentley-Cottam
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