It’s All The Little Extras That Matter

The little things matter.

They matter in a relationship no matter whether that’s with a lover to lover, colleague to client, team to supplier, staff to boss or boss to their reports. In all types of working relationships, the little things matter because they make a difference to how you feel about that person/business/company.

During the pandemic, it has been widely reported that firms with the happiest staff are those who have remained communicative with their staff, maintained virtual team building activities and those who have gifted their staff things that go beyond the chair, desk and laptop.

Why has this made staff happier? Well, it’s because they feel cared for. When social interactions were put on hold, we lost the physical gestures that created our work relationships, where a teammate would fetch us a coffee or tea without asking for example, we lost the smiles when success happened, we lost the eye contact that told us what our boss was feeling toward us. So, making up for the loss of these pleasant interactions through gifting has meant that staff have felt cared for, appreciated and looked after.

At Art in Offices we have certainly received joyful responses when staff have been gifted art vouchers by their company. That little act of corporate gifting mattered to a lot for people in particular, because it helped them curate their zoom room at a time when room backgrounds really mattered.

Companies are now asking themselves; what is going to happen when staff start returning to the office? Clearly some staff will stay working remotely as office occupancy will be a maximum of 30% for a lot of companies until December. They may even work from home indefinitely. And other staff will want to come into the office just a few days a week to see their colleagues and collaborate, plus there will be other forms of flexible working arrangements.

Our answer to that is that the office and home working environment are just as important as each other, and remote staff are just as important as those coming into the office, so all bases need to be covered by companies. But how do you choose a corporate gift that has as much impact in the office as it does at home?

Art in Offices have been working with companies to achieve this, through utilising our existing services and our creative team building activities, to build up a programme of events for all of our clients and their people.

The first step is to create a welcoming office space for staff for those who do come back. More companies have been renting art and placing joyful pieces in the open plan office spaces as much as the meeting rooms. This is because workspaces with art see wellness increase by 42% by relieving the symptoms of anxiety, stress and depression, which many of us have battled with recently. Companies are wisely using the benefits of art to make sure their people feel happy and well in themselves when they are in the office space.

The next step is providing social activities at lunch times and after work, to make it even more worthwhile for those staff who venture into the office. We’ve been developing programmes of activities like lunchtime lectures with artists, creative workshops like painting and collage (which can happen at lunch times or after work), and after the 12th of April we’ll be offering groups the opportunity to go to private galleries to see art and speak to curators (soon to be followed in the summer by an extended option that involves a meal or a drink after the gallery visit).

Another step is to make sure there is a virtual offering that reflects these activities, for those staff who are working remotely and might remain so. So, our activities have been developed to include virtual studio visits with our artists, virtual art lessons (with optional drinks to loosen those paint brushes), games like virtual Pictionary (sometimes using playdough) and a virtual iteration of our most popular activity; Hunger Games Vs Art Attack.

The final step is to make sure that if everyone is gifted something, it’s going to be useful for people who are working remotely or flexibly or in the office. This is where our £25 Art Vouchers have been most popular, because they can be gifted to staff using the £26 work from home tax allowance, and then used to buy art which either creates a sleek zoom background or are placed in front of the staff member giving them something lovely to look at.  

The same benefits of art apply as much in home workspaces as they do offices. Having something joyful to look at in your home workspace still increases wellness by 42% and improves mental health. The choice of art will be different of course - when we consult about office art, we help companies to choose art which represents their brand and company personality, and when we consult with people about their home workspaces (which is still complementary) we help them choose something which they’ll love every day, and ALSO represents them as a person (which could be considered a mini branding exercise).

All these little extras are going to help companies welcome their staff back to the office, and help remote staff stay engaged and feel cared for. Renting art and doing creative activities are simple ideas, but they have a big impact on how we feel.

We’ve seen the positive reactions and benefits of our art activities. Let us show you.