How Art in Offices Boost Productivity

Creativity Makes For Productivity

Finding: Art in offices can boost worker productivity.

If you have ever been to an art gallery, you know how easy it is to get lost in a piece of artwork. Whether you like or dislike the piece, you can still find yourself staring at it for several minutes. Art has a way of capturing the human imagination and redefining how we perceive the world. In a study conducted at the University of Exeter, it was found that art can encourage workers to complete tasks faster and with higher quality.

Art Encourages Productivity

To some, it may seem as if art poses too much of a distraction; that abstract objects don’t belong in a place of business. However, Dr. Craig Knight, head of the research group Identity Realisation (IDR), believes otherwise.

“There is a real tendency to opt for sanitized, lean workspaces, designed to encourage staff to just get on with their work and avoid distraction,” he explains.

According to Knight’s research, happy workers make for better workers. This means that small adjustments to the surroundings of workers can inspire them to work faster and with precision. For his experiment, Dr. Knight used the Deutsche Bank as evidence to further explain his theory.

In the German investment bank, there are over 60,000 pieces of art throughout the building. Employees can then download an interactive app that will educate them on the piece and the history behind the artwork. Even more extraordinary, the bank even hosts talks by the artists themselves, which allows to share and discuss the intricacies of their artwork.

What Can Art Do?

In the hours of research done by Knight and his team, it was found that people who worked in “Enriched” offices, worked 15 percent quicker than those of other offices. But how did the team come to this conclusion? Well, Knight separated the different types of offices a business could have in to four separate groups.

The first group, called the “Lean” group, were the businesses that consolidated their office space to only include things necessary to do their tasks.

The “Enriched” group were the businesses that featured art and plants pre-set in their office.

The “Empowered” group were the businesses that had the same art and plants as the enriched group, but the participants could choose where to put them.

And, lastly, the “Disempowered” group were businesses that participants could arrange the art and plants as they pleased, but the experimenter undid the personal changes at the end of the day.

Using these groups helped decipher what types of offices provided the most worker enjoyment and which offices were able to produce more work. Another factor that was measured were the numbers of health complaints received from employees. Of all the teams, the enrichment group had the least number of health complaints and a great increase in productivity.

In the 12 years that Knight has studied art in work environments, he has never seen a lean group be able to produce more, or better, work than other groups. Both, disempowered and lean groups were unable to produce as much as the empowered or enriched teams.

Fractal Coworking, Business Offices for Rent

At Fractal, we value how design can encourage employees. Making small adjustments to your work environment can result in huge benefits, not just for your employees but for your business as well. If you are interested in your own office space, contact Fractal Coworking today.

The History of Office Design

Office Design: The Evolution of Desks and Chairs

It has been reported that at least 86 percent of Americans work sitting at a desk. With most of the population sitting with a desk and a chair, there has got to be a history design behind the styles of office design. Well, there is!
Around the world, people have been innovating new ways to set up their offices in a way that improves productivity, while also enhancing a sense of community. Just like everything else, office design has seen an evolution over the years.
In this blog, we will be discussing the evolution of office design and how the layout of an office can affect workers. If you are currently looking for an office space for your team or business, Fractal, in Ontario, has exactly what you are looking for! At Fractal, you can rent well-designed office spaces for monthly use. And, each of our offices are crafted to incorporate both elements of design and functionality, which means that you can receive a beautiful office space that has a layout to promote worker efficiency.

The Very First Office

Though it can be argued that the first office spaces began long before the 18th century, our history timeline will begin in England in the 1700s. During this time, the British Empire was growing at a rapid rate, as explorers journeyed over oceans to find new worlds. In their discoveries, these explorers found many different goods and resources to bring back to England. With the new market of goods from the New World, trade was at an all-time high for the British. Because of this, the first office building had to be erected in 1726 to keep up with the incoming shipments. This building was known as the Old Admiralty Office and served to handle the masses of paperwork generated by the Royal Navy.
The office space was used to conduct meetings and was later also used as the Admiralty Board Room. This room was necessary to organize how all the documents would be stored, the processes for filing the paperwork, and how many more shipments of goods they would need. Today, The Old Admiralty Office is still in use, but still holds the title of the very first office space.

Taylorism Office Design

The Old Admiralty Office was the first office, but bigger companies would soon follow. For example, The East India Trading Company adopted their own office building that would act as their headquarters to sort through the paperwork of the company. Innovations to office design didn’t happen again until the 20th century. The new office design was called Taylorism and emphasised efficiency and rigid schedules and layouts. The term was named Taylorism by the mechanical engineer, Frank Taylor, who created the office arrangement to maximize industry efficiency.
Though Taylorism created an office space that demanded high performance, there have been many critics of Taylorism. And, as psychology and the study of social efficiency formed and evolved, more people condemned this style of office design.
Taylorism depends on workers being lined up in straight lines and being packed closely together. In the 20th century, factories were filled with workers, all an elbow apart. Taylorism’s main flaw was that it did not consider the worker’s personal space or enjoyment of their job. Instead, Taylorism was purely concerned with achieving results and reaching the maximum level of productivity.

Skyscrapers Change Minds

While Taylorism was in full effect, there were other innovations that were taking place that would revolutionize the way people worked. Skyscrapers were being built in cities across the USA and in the UK. This new way of creating large buildings changed the way that people believed they should work. With the invention of the skyscraper, other innovations were possible, and were included in these buildings, such as electricity, air conditioning, elevators, and phone systems. With all of these changes to the location people worked, this meant that they could reconsider how they worked. This gave birth to the open plan office design.

The Open Office Plan

With the invention of the skyscrapers and other commercial buildings, workplaces could alter their spacious offices to be arranged in different ways. For instance, private offices and open plan workstations became increasingly popular. This style allowed leaders and executives to rise above and gain their own personal offices, while workers were able to have more room to do their work.

This revolution in design initially began due to the innovated designs by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1939. Wright designed the new office space for The Johnson Wax company, and created one of the first open office plans that revolutionized how office spaces could be built. The office Wright had designed was created to increase productivity, but also consider the lives of the workers. For instance, the office spaces features elements such as bright lighting, warm colors, and high, cork ceilings. The warm colors had the intention of making the workers comfortable at their desks, while the cork ceiling was designed to absorb the acoustic of the office, such as the general noises and the sounds of the typewriters.


In the early 1960s, the changing times gave way to newer office plans. For instance, socially democratic layout plans were encouraged in the work force, mainly because they encouraged interactions between workers. This attention to the socialization of workers became an office design known as Burolandschaft.

The german office layout advocated for less rigid office landscapes and encouraged teams to be grouped together. Due to this layout, office spaces began to group into teams and gain collaborative advantages. For example, communication was much more efficient and teams were able to form their own communities. Not only that, but different levels of managerial staff were able to communicate and form friendships much more easily. Ultimately, this style of office plan increased worker enjoyment and performance.

Cubicle Farm

Though the 1960s and 1970s were both progressive eras for office design, the 1980s retracted those evolutionary steps with the introduction of the cubicle farm. Instead of using open concepts and collaborative office landscapes, the cubicle farm introduced closed off, individual workspaces. This digression was devastating for office design, especially because the 60s and 70s had embraced open layouts so drastically. Instead, the cubicle format of working, used small, individual desks that were closed off by three walls. It was suspected that by being closed off, workers would be able to focus and get more work done. However, this office design had intense backlash, as the office design increased depression and burnout rates among workers.

Offices Today

Today, offices can incorporate many different types of designs. However, as technology has evolved, people are not bound to their desks like they used to be. Many workers can work remotely, or work in coffee shops, their homes, or in the lounges of their office buildings. Because there is no need for large computer monitors anymore, workers have adopted a new system getting their work done. With the invention of laptops, workers can be one-the-go and get their work done the way they want to. Many companies have embraced this free open space plan, and have encouraged workers to use open workspaces, such as lounges, meeting rooms, and other collaborative spaces to work and socialize with others.

Fractal Coworking Business Offices For Rent

At Fractal, we can help your business find the offices space right for you. Whether you believe open space office plans are for you or you would like workers to work independently, we have many different office plans available to you. If you would like to check out our office plans, visit our website today!

Do Collaborative Workspaces Work For Businesses?

Psychology Explains: Do Collaborative Workspaces Work?

The study of psychology tries to understand why humans behave the way that they do. As we have evolved, so have our work habits; instead of swinging from vines, we now work at desks. Psychology tries to understand this evolutionary change and how humans have adapted to it. For instance, how do humans respond to work environments, what makes them feel comfortable, and what factors encourage workflow?
In this blog, we will be discussing how a collaborative workspace can psychologically encourage your employees to work better and faster.

Established Sense of Community

Even before your workers get started on their jobs, they need to know that they are being ushered into a welcoming work environment. More importantly, your business should establish that new workers can go to other workers to ask questions about their job. When you foster a more inclusive environment, you are much more likely to give your business a comfortable feeling. Workers who are ignored or punished when they ask questions, are less likely to feel like their work environment supports them. Businesses should learn to support their workers, especially when they are learning how to do their job. Expecting that someone is hired and doesn’t require a learning curve isn’t realistic.
Aside from establishing an inviting community, you should also make sure that you show off the sense of community that your offices can bring. One of the major benefits of a collaborative work environment is that socialization among co-workers is increased. By having an open area to work, employees feel more inclined to converse with each other, not just for business-related topics. Of course, this can be a double-edged sword, as socialization in business can also diminish productivity. However, with a better sense of community, workers can feel more comfortable to work, which can have an effect on the overall quality of their work.

Increase Communication and Idea Creation

In collaborative environments, ideas are able to be shared. Communication in these types of work environments is also magnified, as workers don’t have to travel or dial a number to contact their co-workers. In an open space, workers can communicate effectively and create new ideas. Better still, these ideas can be built off of each other, which can catapult ideas from small thoughts to real-life innovations.
Though collaboration can be an exciting prospect for businesses, psychology also warns about natural human behavior. For instance, the psychological phenomenon, Groupthink, is always a concern for businesses. This means that a group of people wish to agree on the same things in order to maintain a sense of unity and conformity. As a result of this, ideas and thoughts can be skewed to benefit the group and can alter decision-making processes.
Groupthink can be a dangerous concept for businesses, especially ones that expect to thrive and innovate. However, there are ways to make sure that groupthink does not happen to your office. In corporate businesses, collaborative workspaces can keep people engaged to think of new ideas. Though groupthink can occur, with a community of workers bouncing ideas off each other, it is less likely to happen.
Also, collaborative workspaces can combat groupthink using diversity. As a business, hiring many diverse people is important. When you only hire one type of person for your business, this is when groupthink can be risky. For instance, if you hire the same demographic of workers, they are likely to think similarly. Because of this, collaborative workspaces won’t work to innovate or encourage alternative thought. Instead, your business is likely to only think one way, and very strongly.

Workers Have More Control Of Their Jobs

With collaborative environments, workers generally feel as if they have more control over their jobs. In many collaborative workspaces, they are typically open 24/7, which means workers can utilize their own space when they have a deadline or when they want to show their own progress. And, open work environments also encourage workers to take breaks. In many businesses, work can be difficult and mentally taxing, by offering an open space that encourages breaks, you are subconsciously letting your workers know you care for their well being. This can help employees feel well-supported at their job and have a better handle on their workload.

Thriving Rates and On-Going Studies

According to Harvard Business Review, researchers have studied the effects of collaborative workspaces and gathered that these spaces encourage productivity. Though co-working environments encourage breaks and socialization, they also improve a workers quality of work-life. According to a survey in which workers rated how much they were thriving at their job, collaborative workers rated their environments a six-out-of-seven. There is currently on-going research happening to try to pinpoint exactly what about co-corking environments improve employee enthusiasm.

Fractal: Business Offices for Rent

At Fractal, we offer both collaborative workspaces for rent, as well as individual desks and offices. If your business could benefit from a workspace that encourages creative thought and collaborative processes, Fractal Coworking has something to offer you. Contact us today to learn more about our office plans.

How to Introduce Workers to a New Open Office Plan

How to Introduce Workers to a New Office Plan

What separates major businesses from each other is their work culture. How a business treats their employees says a lot about their values and how they intend to succeed in business. Major corporations, such as Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, have devoted millions of dollars to the redesign of their workspaces. Why? Their primary objective was to improve the work quality of their business and invite the best minds onto their team. After all, no one wants to work somewhere they don’t like.

By having a workspace that encourages collaborative, as well as creative thought, employees feel more valued. In this blog, we will be discussing how best to introduce your workers to a new, open office plan. Through collaborative workspaces, you and your workers will be able to experience the benefits of an open office.

Office Back Then and Now

In the past, offices were plain, non-decorative, and organized in straight lines. How people worked wasn’t a concern for major businesses. Instead, all businesses cared about was their revenue numbers, nevermind the turnover rate of their employees. Workers who had regimented schedules and cage-like workspaces had their job because they needed to survive, not because they liked their employers. However, since businesses have gained so much competition in their industries, corporations constantly look for ways to give themselves advantages. One large factor to the productivity and success of a business is its workforce. Without an enthusiastic workforce, a business isn’t able to thrive or innovate. For tech companies, such as Google and Microsoft, stagnation isn’t an option; only the best and brightest minds are able to work for these types of companies. However, since these types of companies desire motivated, brilliant workers, they need to ensure that their employees enjoy working under them — hence luxurious workspaces that encourage collaborative thought.

Have a Vision for Your Workspace

As a business, you need to have certain goals. There are obviously goals you will have for your business in terms of projected revenue and success, however, you should also have goals for your work culture. For example, to have a thriving business, you want people to feel encouraged to apply and work for your company. Building a comfortable, safe, and inviting work environment should be one of your top priorities. There are two ways to build this type of work culture: hire diverse and positive people and work in an incredible building.

Why would these two things be so important? Well, your workers are what make your culture. If you hire like-minded people, there is no innovation that can occur. Also, the people you initially hire will begin the path of your work culture. This means you should look for positive people that seem friendly and intelligent.

Second, your office building is also important for your work culture. Where your employees work is essential to how they interpret the importance of their job, their individual productivity, and their enjoyment of their job.

So, once you have a vision for your business, then you have show enthusiasm for it.

Show Enthusiasm for Your Workspace

Much of your work culture derives from the attitude you portray to your workers. If you have a vision about your business, you need to be excited about it! For instance, if you are preparing your workers for a new office space, you need to be enthusiastic about the move and the new building. If you show hesitance or a distaste for your building or business, employee will perceive that and choose to have a similar viewpoint.
In a study conducted by Harvard Business Review, it was found that leaders who were positive about their new buildings and office spaces had positive feedback from their employees. It also should be noted that leaders who were not positive about their new offices spaces had their employees struggle with their workplace transition. With this being said, if you are moving into another office, or have redesigned your current office, it is important to remain positive throughout the entire transition. Without a leader’s positive attitude, workers are less likely to adapt and enjoy their work environment.

Adapt Your Workspace to Your Needs

In the workplace, it is important to encourage individualism. For most businesses, this means that workers are allowed to be themselves and adapt their workspaces to fit their needs. This can range from having their desks arranged in a certain way to even decorating their desks with personal pictures and trinkets. As a business, it is important to allow your workers to feel as comfortable as possible in their workspaces. Personalizing their own workspaces should be not only tolerated, but encouraged among workers.

Fractal Coworking

At Fractal Coworking, we have rentable workspaces for your business. By choosing our workspaces, you can gain well-designed, open, and inviting offices for your workers. At Fractal Coworking, we have incorporated elements of creative and structural design to optimize our office spaces. Contact us today if you are interested.

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