How We Work: The Link Between Aesthetics and Performance

Often, the details we select last – the visual art, graphics, or lighting – are the ones noticed first in a space. The aesthetics we select to express our brand (and ourselves) are the pieces with the highest visibility and impact. The office environment plays a supporting role in defining a brand and often in employee performance and satisfaction.

Designing a space expressly for a purpose dictates the furniture, lighting, art, and surface treatments that are appropriate, but a few key concepts apply throughout. Three key areas provide the highest benefit: Art and Cultural Pieces, Natural Light and Views, and Green Design and Plants.

According to an Oslo School of Management study, there are connections between displayed art and employee satisfaction, identity, mood, creativity, and motivation, and can increase employee identification with the organization. Still other studies have found that art in the workplace can reduce stress, enhance morale, encourage discussion, and expression of opinions along with increasing productivity. However  when organizations invest in art and design, they need to actively engage with employees regarding the art’s meaning and relevance. Without that key communication piece, the benefit decreases.

Natural light can increase productivity, according to the Natural Renewable Energy Laboratory. Longer-distance views allow eyes to adjust and refocus after long stretches of screen time or reviewing printed documents, which reduces fatigue and eye strain. As an added benefit, natural landscape views have a measured impact on well-being, and can provide a psychological connection with others within their space.

The cognitive performance of office workers in green spaces was shown to be double that of those working in conventional environments, according to a Harvard University paper, noting that air quality in sustainable “green” buildings had markedly less CO2 in the air, and cognitive functions decreased the more CO2 was introduced. Greenery and live plants also have an impact in decreasing CO2 levels with indoor air.  

Define your brand within your space: increase productivity and employee satisfaction and retention – let the Apex team work to source the high-impact visual elements that align and enhance your space. Contact us for specific projects, or to speak further about a consultation.