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Why Companies Should Invest In Artwork In The Workplace

Installing artwork at work creates much more than just an aesthetically pleasing environment. Several studies have found that it can help boost employee productivity, creativity and interaction.

Adding artwork to a small meeting room at Contract Furnishings Inc. made the space a place people want to gather.

“The impact of art in the workplace is underestimated,” Contract Furnishings Inc. President Christopher Leach said. “The benefits are tangible. Color can elevate mood, and art can provide talking points. It creates opportunities for story sharing and employee and client engagement.”

A simple photograph of a vintage phone in the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority office sends the message that this room is a phone booth.

A 2013 report by the British Council for Offices said 61% of workers believe artwork inspires them to think and work more creatively. A study by ARTIQ, in conjunction with Zurich Insurance Group, found that displaying art in the workplace increased perceived productivity by 14.3% compared with a control group who had no art visible from their workstations. 

Though Leach doesn’t choose or buy artwork for his clients’ offices, he will steer them to quality online and brick-and-mortar galleries. He also will recommend print and framing shops to clients who want to create their own artwork.

“It’s too emotional — that’s also why we don’t do residential furniture,” Leach said. “With commercial, it’s about butts in seats.”

CHFA employees can play tic-tac-toe when they take a break.

In October, Leach completed the installation of furniture for the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority. The organization, which invests in affordable housing and community development, moved out of its five-story building at 20th and Blake streets in Denver for a year while its offices were renovated.  

The new space has welcoming sitting areas with comfortable chairs, whiteboards that can be wheeled around the office, a new fitness center and bike storage facility.

A coloring board helps unleash CHFA employees' creativity.

But it is the artwork that makes CHFA’s offices so inviting. Framed photographs of vintage telephones adorn the walls of the phone booths employees use when they need privacy, and there is a game of some kind — tic-tac-toe, checkers, Scrabble — on the walls of each floor of the open-concept office.

CHFA encourages employees to use the stairs with inspirational messages and new lighting in the stairwells.

Leach, who is a certified ergonomist, said that letting employees participate in the workplace design process gives them a sense of ownership.

“Employees who have control over the design and layout of their workspaces are happier and healthier,” he said. “It shows management cares about the employee and customer experience.”