How to change the dull and boring workplace

Office art isn’t just to make the place look pretty, it can have a number of other benefits. We give you some examples and tell you why you need to get creative.

David Quinn: BrightHR Social Media Manager

When people think about the typical office the old stereotype usually comes out. Boring beige walls, old 1980’s carpets, and confined cubicles. But in this modern age why would anyone want to work in an office like this?

Over the last few years, the office has started to change with the likes of Google and Facebook leading the way in terms of ‘fun’ workplaces. Slides, chill out areas, sleep zones, you name it they seem to have it. Even here at BrightHR, we see the value of giving employees a break away from their desks and provide a comfy garden breakout area where employees can take 10 minutes away from the screen and table tennis for those who want to get competitive and talk over an upcoming project.

But for many putting in a table tennis table or a comfy breakout space isn’t feasible. So how can we make workplaces more engaging, bring them into the future and is there any actual benefit?

There’s one easy, quick and cost-effective solution - office art

BrightHR

Here at BrightHR, we hated the plain white walls when we moved into the office and quickly went about rectifying the situation with two big pieces of artwork. The first was a Manchester mural, incorporating as much as we could about this brilliant city. Manchester United, Manchester City, Coronation Street, Frank Sidebottom and ourselves of course!

For the second, we wanted to create something that represented our brilliant BrightHR team for our football goal area. We got every member of the team to sketch themselves and these sketches were then put together, along with a few famous faces, to create this crowd scene.


BIC

We all hate the boring meeting room and in this example, BIC took a standard meeting room and made it interesting. They commissioned a piece of art that displayed company stats and company milestones together in one colourful piece of meeting room art.


Weiden+Kennedy

We’ve all seen motivational and inspiring quotes on social media but Weiden+Kennedy took these quotes into the office. Using this type of art not only brightens up the office but can also instill and reinforce your company values. But you have to be careful that it actually means something to your staff and you don’t just use the cliched lines such as ‘work hard, play hard’ or ‘there’s no I in team’.


Ben Brucker

Just like us designer Ben Bruker was getting fed up of his dull, boring office walls and decided to do something about it. His solution, superhero images made out of post-it notes. The artwork used over 8000 of the sticky notes and his team came in on the weekend to lend a hand. Not only did it brighten up his dull office but it also got his business a hell of a lot of PR.


So now you’ve got some inspiration why should you bother spending time and money on workplace art? Well the benefits speak for themselves:

  • Motivated, more productive staff

Dr. Craig Knight and his team at the University of Exeter conducted a number of experiments on the effects of art on workers. His study showed that when workers had art and plants in a room they worked about 15% quicker than those who had only the things necessary to do the job. This rate doubled when participants had control over the art and plants. (see empowering staff below)

“In 12 years we have never found that lean offices create better results, and the more involved people are in the enrichment process, the more they are able to realise a part of themselves in the space,”  

  • Impress potential clients

First impressions count and this is especially true when a client comes to visit your office. Instead of just being another typical boring office why not create something in reception that will wow everyone that comes through the door. It will act as a focal point, create a positive first impression, get people talking and it will stick in the mind of any potential client.

  • Increase creative thinking

Working in a beige room isn’t all that inspiring and it can be difficult to think creatively when there’s nothing to inspire you or to get those creative juices flowing. Artwork can give people the sign that creativity is encouraged, that new ideas are welcomed and the artwork itself could act as a catalyst for new ideas to form.  

  • Empower employees

Art can be a great way of getting staff involved and showing that their voices matter. You could allow staff to come up with themes for blank walls, let staff choose from a range of art designs or even get them involved in painting or designing the artwork itself. By doing this, and following through on the decisions, it shows you value staff and that they have an active say in how the business operates.  

  • Improve health and stress

Art doesn’t just improve the look of the office it can have an effect on the health and wellbeing of your staff as well. Stress is reduced as artwork can have a calming effect and wellbeing is improved as it can create an atmosphere in where people want to work.

  • Help reduce staff turnover

Art can contribute to having healthier, happier, engaged, valued and empowered staff. If you combine that with good pay you’ve got a killer combination where people look forward to coming into work and where they won't leave to leave. What’s more, once word gets out you may get the added benefit of people actively wanting to come to work for you. So it’s less recruitment costs all round.

Creating an engaging workplace is just one way to improve your business and to help it succeed. But what does the future of business hold? Why not take a look at ‘The New Workforce’ and see for yourself.

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