Younger workers are more likely to return to the office when art is nearby, according to a UK survey

Young people want to go back to the office rather than continue to work from home as the Covid pandemic eases, according to the latest survey in the UK.

These are just two of the findings in the Art of the workplace reportwhich last month surveyed 3,000 office workers across the UK aged 18 to 60 who work in offices between two and four days a week.

Of respondents in the youngest age group (18-29), 63 percent preferred working in an office to working from home. For those who work in offices with a lot of art, it is even 75 percent.

The report’s findings, commissioned by longtime art promoter Brookfield Properties in partnership with international self-help organization The School of Life, align with the broader trend of rising art sales among young Millennials (born 1981-96) and Gen Z ( born 1997-2012).

Christie’s, for example, saw a strong influx of new and younger customers between January and June 2022, a spokesman told Artnet News. Thirty percent of all buyers in the first half of the year were new to Christie’s, and 34 percent of those new buyers were millennials, up from 31 percent a year earlier, the auction house said.

Sotheby’s said the number of bidders and buyers under the age of 40 had increased dramatically over the course of the pandemic. The number of younger bidders recorded in 2021 increased by 67 percent compared to 2019, while the number of buyers increased by 60 percent over the same period, a spokesman told Artnet News.

Art creates a respite for office workers. Courtesy of Brookfield Properties.

Reporting a similar trend, Phillips said that in 2021, 50 percent of all buyers at online-only and live auctions were first-time buyers of the auction house. And half of the lots sold in live auctions went to online buyers in 2021, up 32 percent from 2019. “Online buyers tend to be younger,” a Phillips spokesperson said.

The survey, conducted by research agency Perspectus Global, also confirmed the importance of arts and culture activities in the workplace. About 77 percent of respondents liked cultural, social or health events in the workplace, while 69 percent of them said that interesting and visually appealing artwork in the office contributes to their well-being.

In comparison, less than 10 percent of those who work in “slim offices” that have little art or other amenities said they feel inspired at work.

“We have found that using art as an enrichment can increase productivity by up to 17 percent. When you use art as a means to empower people at work, productivity can increase by as much as 32 percent,” said Dr. Craig Knight, a licensed psychologist and founder of workplace psychology agency Identity Realization Ltd.

He also compared people working in low-art offices to animals being caged. “Lean offices are a bad idea,” he said.

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