Why I Believe Art is the Key to Inclusion in the Workplace

4min read

The technological transformation is underway at the dawn of the new decade. I think we are all both fascinated and scared about what is going to happen in the 2020s. We know for sure that it will entail the shift of jobs requiring more creative and high-cognitive skills. Talent will be measured by sophisticated intelligence, forensic efficiency, and pressure resiliency. Companies with innovative and tech advanced products will thrive economically, but I believe it will not be enough to advance our society. Business leaders will have to involve their ingenuity and energy to sustain this change for people. And not only for technically savvy people or creative minds. The culture of innovation will have to be for everybody regardless of their background, education, gender, race, or current occupation.

Skills for future jobs will demand speed information processing, multiple simultaneous attention, constant learning, and new idea generation. The workforce is already known to be stressed, and the possibility of job disruption adds to the anxiety level. Those abilities are not innate for most people and will need to be learned to remain competitive in the job market. This is where thought leaders need to play a crucial role and provide an inspiring and safe environment. They need to foster the necessary learning so that everybody has the chance to prosper. There are many ways to advance the mentioned skills, which include mindfulness meditation, breathing work, reading, and brain exercise. However, one way to do so, which we do not automatically think about is through the arts.

Viewing, experiencing, and analyzing visual art can stimulate the brain and thus help to improve the mental function.

Here are the main reasons why:

  • Art has a profound psychological impact on individuals.
  • Looking at art involves seeing things in relative terms and requires one to get out of their comfort zone.
  • Art contains messages to be always alert to the changing society.
  • Through its inventive process, it brings vitality to the thought methodology.
  • Art can conjure strong emotions and deep thoughts, benefiting the brain to create new neuro connections. In exchange, it can sharpen critical faculties of individuals and free their creative drives, dropping the invisible personal barriers. Then imagination and creativity can be boosted, which will be essential capabilities in the workplace of tomorrow.
  • Understanding art requires a certain level of humility, which helps the brain to unlearn first before learning new skills.
  • Art is also an amazing way for people to reconnect with each other and to create social occasions to meet. Feeling lonely could trigger psychological and cognitive decline, while art promotes community interactions.

The bottom line is that art maps out the road to fundamental learning. Therefore companies could only benefit from having art and artists in the office. This is how this could be achieved:

  • Art could be hanging on the walls or be installed in the forms of sculptures.
  • Artists could be working in residencies at corporations or provide lectures about their vision of the present and the future.
  • Collectible design furniture could be present in the rest areas.
  • Artists could be on the Advisory Board of organizations. I strongly believe that artists provide an alternative view about what it means to be successful for a business through lenses of humanity.

Not only does art cultivate intellectual curiosity - a critical faculty in the fast paced environment - but it's also beneficial to foster inclusive growth. It is known that the first jobs which will be impacted are those held by women. Women historically occupy lower qualified positions, which will be the first affected by new technologies such as AI, robotics, and other automated tools. The same applies to racial and ethnic minorities.

Meaningful art in the workplace is available to everybody. And I don't mean only having art in the board rooms or the lobby space - it's not enough. Leaders need to think including art in the meditation and silent rooms, inviting artists to talk to employees and explain their process, include artworks with an extensive palette of colors and shapes, unusual combinations of content, and material. It needs to be installed where people actually work. If business leaders really want to make a difference, they need to put the type of artwork that will be talked about at the dinners at home by their employees and reproduced on social media profiles.

Leaders have a great responsibility to embark everybody on the transformational journey towards an inclusive workplace of the 21st century. They can forestall it by the means of arts. Rob Riemen said "You can't keep the society with economics alone, it takes culture to do this." And I couldn't agree more with these words.

3 min read

Help! My Friend Is a No Show

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Help! My Friend Is a No Show

Dear Armchair Psychologist,

I have a friend who doesn't reply to my messages about meeting for dinner, etc. Although, last week I ran into her at a local restaurant of mine, it has always been awkward to be friends with her. Should I continue our friendship or discontinue it? We've been friends for a total four years and nothing has changed. I don't feel as comfortable with her as my other close friends, and I don't think I'll ever be able to reach that comfort zone in pure friendship.


Dear Sadsies,

I am sorry to hear you've been neglected by your friend. You may already have the answer to your question, since you're evaluating the non-existing bond between yourself and your friend. However, I'll gladly affirm to you that a friendship that isn't reciprocated is not a good friendship.

I have had a similar situation with a friend whom I'd grown up with but who was also consistently a very negative person, a true Debby Downer. One day, I just had enough of her criticism and vitriol. I stopped making excuses for her and dumped her. It was a great decision and I haven't looked back. With that in mind, it could be possible that something has changed in your friend's life, but it's insignificant if she isn't responding to you. It's time to dump her and spend your energy where it's appreciated. Don't dwell on this friend. History is not enough to create a lasting bond, it only means just that—you and your friend have history—so let her be history!

- The Armchair Psychologist

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