Those of us who work in offices with no art on the walls probably don’t even know to miss it, but according to a new report from International Art Consultants (IAC) and British Council for Offices (BCO), art in the workplace plays a crucial role in making both staff and visitors feel more welcome.

The Making Art Work in the Workplace report - put together after surveying BCO members and conducting in-depth interviews with design industry professionals - concluded that the main reasons for having art at work are to decorate the office, communicate corporate values and to act as a form of financial investment. The economic downturn however has forced companies to cut budgets, with less than half of the survey respondents saying that they have a dedicated art budget.

Many companies are nevertheless finding different ways to incorporate art in the workplace, as they understand that the value of art also manifests itself in boosting creativity and increasing staff productivity. Some companies choose to work with up-and-coming artists, which saves money but can be a wise investment in the long run. One such case is Pinsent Masons, a law firm that made a young London-based print maker Paul Catherall its artist in residence to create a series of landscape and lino cuts for the firm's London office.

The report also highlights the changing nature of workplace, meaning that traditional art forms may not be as effective in the new office environment. Open-plan offices, the growing importance of breakout areas and the increase in flexible working all create fascinating opportunities of incorporating art into the working environment, it says. And while traditional art forms such as paintings, prints and sculptures are still the most popular according to the report, new art, such as integrated works in the form of wall murals and installations as well as digital art, is on the increase too.
The full report is available on IAC's website.