Bare walls aren’t only boring, they might be also doing your team a disservice. Researchers have discovered what employees have intuitively known for decades: office decor has a major impact on everything from mood and moral to productivity and performance.
For proof that bland walls are a morale killer, look no further than the University of Texas at Austin. In a recent study, university researchers found that when workers spent time in an office with bare walls painted grey, beige or white, they experienced a heightened sense of sadness and depression. The effect was universal for both genders, though it was especially pronounced in women. (Men’s sadness seemed to spike while stuck staring at purple and orange walls.)
In a similar study, researchers at the University of Texas also found that when participants were tasked with completing a time-based test in a red room, their performance was, indeed, much better than when they were tested in a white room.
Yet participants also reported that they disliked working in the red space. Higher performance, researchers noted, was undercut by a dip in morale and satisfaction. And decorating an office space isn’t just about maximising output, it’s also about balancing that need for speed with employee satisfaction and retention.
As such, don’t make the mistake of thinking a coat of paint will be solution enough to combat the sadness that sterile walls creates. Research shows that haphazardly painting walls a vibrant colour won’t automatically buoy performance. Hanging motivational art and posters can break up the visual monotony of an unadorned space. The right motivational art provides a break for the eye (no matter how brief) from the corporate surroundings of desks, file cabinets, and cubicle walls. Instead of institutional white or beige walls that may stir sadness in employees, offer motivational art that evokes an emotional response, whether that’s an awe-inspiring vista or an inspiring quote from a great leader.
When researchers at the University of Toronto set out to study the subconscious effects that motivational art can have on employee performance, they created a field experiment at a university call centre. First, they divided participants into two groups. They then calculated the number of pledges and the amount of money the workers generated while working with no motivational art on the walls or with a photograph on the wall. The researchers tested two different types of photographs: an achievement-centric image of a person winning a race or a context-specific of other call centre employees in action.
The data from the University of Toronto’s study showed the artwork had a significant impact on their performance. After the two week trial, the researchers concluded that working in an office with motivational pictures increased employee performance success rate by 33 percent. Employees in the group with the general achievement imagery raised 60 percent more money those who worked without any motivational imagery on the wall. That’s an incredible ROI for a minor investment in motivational art.
What can you take from this?
Don’t let a small budget stop you.
Cost shouldn’t prevent you from hanging motivational images and posters in the office, as we have high quality prints for under R200!
Colourful paint isn’t a silver bullet.
Don’t assume that colourful paint alone is enough to motivate and inspire. Studies have proven this isn’t the same as having motivational artwork.
Use suitable artwork to your context.
To get even more motivation from your team, look for a poster or photograph that’s contextually relevant to your staff. That might mean a quote that evokes the start-up mentality of Mark Zuckerberg, for instance. Or, if your organisation values core themes such as teamwork, excellence and leadership, find motivational artwork that speaks to these sentiments.
Think beyond the reception area.
Don’t just use artwork to impress your customers or clients. Your employees are the engine of your company. Consider the spaces used regularly by your own employees.
Get staff involved and refresh your decor.
Research shows that the impact of hanging art on employee performance doesn’t diminish over time. So hanging a motivating image today can increase productivity tomorrow, and a month from tomorrow. While there’s no need to rotate art regularly, you might want to get employees input. Our motivational artworks are affordable enough to have spring-cleaning events to refresh your office decor, showing your staff that you care about their input and making sure they’re satisfied with their surroundings.