Enriching Offices to Improve Team Productivity:
A Discussion with Dr. Craig Knight
Interviewee: Dr. Craig Knight | Industry: Workspace Design & Psychology
“Lean offices are a bad idea! It’s like putting animals into cages.”
– Dr. Craig Knight, Doctor of Workplace Psychology.
About Dr. Craig Knight
Dr. Craig Knight – based in Scotland – initiated his career as a Strategy Manager in office design where he got a glimpse into how different designs in the same space or the same design but in different buildings affected people differently. After this realization he decided to broaden his skillset, starting a PhD in Organizational and Social Psychology at the University of Exeter. Since 2012 he has been managing his own business – “Identity Realization” –, in which he has been conducting studies aiming to create more effective teams and businesses through his practices and advice on coaching, leadership, management and other fields.
Given his personal interests in art and culture, it comes as no surprise why among the first things he tested in his studies were the effects of incorporating visual art at workplaces.
Illustration by Kateryna Bielobrova
“If you enrich a space, people feel much happier and work better: a very good way of doing this is by using art” – Dr. Craig Knight
The challenge most offices face
Most office employees have experienced work-related stress at least once in their careers! In addition, a 2021 study revealed that 80% of the employees feel disengaged at work, while burnout rates reached 89% last year. Along with other important factors like managerial practices, the work environment and office design also play their role in employees’ disengagement, burnout and high stress levels. As Dr. Knight shared during the interview, most offices in the Western world adopt a minimalist design that lacks visual attractions to stimulate creativity and interest. Such dull working environments can negatively impact the happiness and overall well-being of the workforce, as well as their effective intelligence.
As he puts it: “There is a strong link between how happy people are and how productive they can be. When you provide people with things that engage them psychologically – like when you put WindowSight on the walls for example – , they feel and perform better. It has been proven scientifically that this adds value to what you do: it is very unlikely that when people are happy their creativity decreases.”
In his 2010 study about lean, enriched, and empowered offices, Dr. Knight along with his colleague and Professor of Psychology Alexander Haslam, explored the importance of the surroundings for effectiveness, productivity, and well-being. During their experiment, participants were required to complete a set of tasks – the same for each individual – in four differently decorated spaces:
- In the lean space, the participants entered a bland office and were only provided with the essentials to complete the task.
- In the enriched space, the office was already decorated with plants and art.
- In the empowered space, the participants were given the chance to decorate the office using as many provided plants and art pieces as they wanted and place them in spots of their preference.
- In the disempowered space, they were asked to follow the same procedure as in the empowered condition, however once finished, the experimenter rearranged all the elements before proceeding to their tasks.
Not surprisingly, participants who worked in the enriched and empowered spaces accomplished their tasks more effectively and accurately with the empowered conditions gaining a bit more credit. The lean and disempowered conditions showed the lowest engagement.
“When you make a workspace better and more inviting, people are more likely to get attracted to what you do.” – Dr. Craig Knight
We, the WindowSight team, have been in communication with Dr. Craig Knight regarding our collaboration which supports our mission to enhance office environments worldwide and promote employee well-being. Dr. Knight shared his expertise and insights, as well as his positive impression of WindowSight and ideas on how a digital art platform like ours can leverage the power of visual content and impact the employees’ daily work-life.
As he mentioned about WindowSight: “Normal art just sits on the wall and doesn’t change, so people overtime might get fed up by the same stimuli everyday, but what WindowSight provides is quite rare. People can do and test really interesting things with it – it’s the visual version of Spotify. If we introduced this concept to a workplace we would not only enrich a lean space, but also provide the employees with a choice of their own about the content displayed. We could expect really good results from its effects.”
With WindowSight, your colleagues can come together, choose their preferred content and display it in a rotating mode. Dynamic digital art today, calming nature photography tomorrow or joyful video art next week, whatever the content your team loves, you can create working environments – spaces where you spend 8 hours a day – that inspire and an atmosphere that encourages teamwork and boosts morale.
Visual Art by Claude Monet, and Animation by teo.animation
“You can find out what kind of content resonates the most with different people: whether it is Monet on one screen or funky video art on another, with WindowSight you increase the interest. ” – Dr. Craig Knight
WindowSight is an alternative and innovative way to break the monotony, pique the interest of your team, spark imagination and all this with a service that doesn’t occupy more space than your TVs and that can be easily integrated into your CMS or digital signage solution without affecting the daily operations and changing the habits within company. As Dr. Knight shared: “WindowSight is something dynamic and not space-hungry which you can easily implement on the walls and it just starts doing its magic.”
Start making change now
Everyone has the chance to appreciate visual stimuli! Regardless of the industry you are in, visual content – painting, video art, illustration, photography – have the capacity and power to influence everyone’s daily life, particularly when individuals have the freedom to choose it themselves.
As he stated: “Any company would benefit from enrichment of the space. The ones that would benefit even more from this are the ones unlikely to make a change: companies where management is strict and there is little autonomy, resource and trust.”
Various hypotheses and variables were discussed during the interview, including the possibility of conducting a study together with the renowned psychologist to assess the return on investment (ROI) or the team’s productivity and effective intelligence before and after implementing WindowSight – something Dr. Knight already believes will bring favorable results.
The WindowSight team is bound to enrich the office surroundings with visually appealing narratives daily and boost people’s work-life experience. This is an open call for you to start with a small and easy step toward making a significant change. Are you ready to boost your team’s potential with us?