How to Create an Office Environment Like Facebook

east_cambridgeWe recently caught wind of a big expansion in Facebook’s new Cambridge, Massachusetts, office. At TurningArt, we’ve always had a lot of respect for the social media giant. Since its early days, the company has been committed to the arts and the concept that a great office has great artwork. A key part of Facebook’s recent office expansion, was the commission and acquisition of new artwork by local artists.   

More importantly, Facebook elevated their art collection with a specific purpose in mind. According to Dina Pugh, a New York City-based art curator hired by Facebook, “One of the things that I knew we were looking for was something that speaks to the ‘hacker mentality’—someone who’s working with DIY materials or thinking inventively about materials, as well as thinking about connections between people.”

Facebook is a company that trumpets its willingness to allow employees to take charge of their work and experiment freely to discover what new creations will have the greatest impact on their overall product. Clearly, artwork selections support this, and encourage innovative thinking among its team.

This mentality, along with well-curated workspaces has perennially boosted Facebook to the top of “Best Places to Work” lists and has made the company’s story a textbook for scaling culture with growth.

So how can other companies build this type of culture and environment? Certain intangibles, like Facebook’s autonomy, remote working opportunities and internal transparency are a great place to start. Designing an office and adding artwork like Facebook can be a much bigger challenge, especially because most companies won’t have such a large budget to work with. That’s not to say there are no ways to reap the benefits of artwork in the office affordably, however. 

Renting artwork is a great solution for companies looking to acquire artwork within their budget. Rather than exploring more costly options, like commissioning artwork or purchasing originals, renting art prints creates the opportunity to get new artwork into the office at a fraction of the cost of buying. Better yet – the non-permanent nature of rentals ensures that companies can change their artwork when new inspiration is needed or to respond to changes in company culture or office space.

The ability to rotate art is an important factor to consider when building company culture. The “Fresh Art Effect” creates a work environment that is constantly evolving – and employees take notice. With each rotation, the effect of change not only livens up the workplace, but it reinvigorates employees and can inspire new ways of thinking. If a company is looking to encourage autonomy and foster creativity, this is a great concept to consider.

One way to take this a step further is to involve employees in the process of art selection. After all, the best way to create an environment that is reflective of the company’s mission is to do so from within. Aside from choosing artwork that employees actually want, the simple act of involving them can have a positive effect on their perception of their employer. According to a major design firm, Gensler, employees with control over their environment are significantly more effective, satisfied and view their company as being more innovative. Further, companies that involve employees with design choices see one third of the turnover rate that other companies experience.

Selecting artwork can also be a culture-building activity in of itself. Many companies will make the selection process an event, serving snacks, drinks and allowing employees to relax in the office while reviewing artwork. Other companies, like Addgene, a neighbor of Facebook in Cambridge, even drew inspiration from their artwork to create a costume for their annual Halloween costume contest (read all about it here!)

As Facebook has illustrated, companies that invest in their workspaces are showing that they care about their employees and this goes a long way in building a better company. If you’d like to learn more about how you can rent artwork for your space, just give us a shout! Our team of Art Advisors is happy to take a look at your space and make recommendations from our catalog of over 15,000 artworks.

And if you’d like to learn more about the impact of artwork on company culture and employee productivity, take a look at our eBook below:


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