A Work(place) of Art

I recently read an interesting article by Helen Owen of Bisley, entitled ‘How workplace art can draw the distinction between branding and corporate identity’, where she discusses the benefits of workplace art ‘in expressing the personality, values and culture of an organisation’.

Helen references a 2014 study from Harvard, published in the Journal of Workplace Learning, which concludes that art in the workplace promotes social interactions, elicits emotional responses, fosters personal relationships, enhances the workplace environment and facilitates learning. Helen also refers to a study from researchers at Exeter University where participants were asked to do an hour’s work in four different types of office space and found, unsurprisingly, that the team working in an enriched office (featuring art and plants) were around 15 percent more productive than those in a lean office (containing only the things necessary to do the tasks). This figure doubled again for those empowered to change the space as they saw fit.

She also credits Deutsche Bank for embracing this concept, as clearly workplace design has the power to engage, motivate and nurture individuals. It also has the power to express the values and personality of the organisation and the brand.

However, simply hanging art in public spaces is one thing. When art is as integral to the workplace as the walls and the furniture; when it expresses the organisations proposition, values and culture; when it manifests itself in corporate communications; when it inspires, provokes, challenges, delights and intrigues it elevates the working environment to a whole new level, rationally, emotionally and dare I say spiritually too.

As a case in point, our client SEI has been impressively forward thinking in understanding how art can help nurture ideas, enhance a brand philosophy and deliver incredible business growth.

Their campus in Oaks, just outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has been purpose built to deliver an eco-friendly environment that embraces the very best in future-proofed office design as well as being the living showcase for the West Collection, (http://westcollection.org/), displaying some of CEO Al West’s 3,000 contemporary works by over 700 leading international artists. This inspirational environment has encouraged a different way of thinking and attracted a vibrant, positive and proactive workforce that have embraced a culture and way of being that I would argue is not just unique in financial services but in pretty much any corporate business sector.

So, as they celebrate their 50th birthday this year I know they will go on challenging convention in where they work, how they work, the products they develop and the art they embrace. Their company proposition is ‘New Ways. New Answers’ and they are delivering on that promise whichever way you look at it.

Written by Treve Ripley

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