Sometimes silence can be golden, but there is a large proportion of the working population that feel they are more productive when listening to music. Although this might vary in genre and delivery, taking some time to explore what works for you could notably boost your output at work.
What can music do for productivity?
Over recent years we have come to understand the real impact of music on our mental state. Its rhythmic and repetitive aspects engage with the neocortex of the brain—reducing impulsivity and regulating our mood.
Ultimately, it acts as a medium for processing emotions, but can also be utilised as a regulating or calming agent for anxiety or for dysregulation. With this in mind it is no surprise that music in the workplace can have a notable impact on the mindset and productivity of an employee.
What is the proof?
When WW2 was in full swing in 1940 factory workers were working long hours to supply essential munitions to the military. Following the capture of 10,000 British troops in Normandy, morale was at an all-time low. The government and BBC therefore collaborated to implement the “Music While You Work” programme.
The premise behind this idea was to step up the pace of work by broadcasting live, upbeat music in factories—and it worked. A BBC report on the programme claimed the results were “incalculable”, and that for approximately an hour after the broadcast the factory output increased by 15%.
Karen Landay, a former professional violinist who authored a review on the subject, says that “Historically, music and work have always been intertwined”. One of the best-known examples of this is the “Mozart effect”. Put simply this is the idea that listening to a piano sonata composed by a genius can boost your capabilities too.
Research conducted in 2015 compared the impact of Mozart with Beethoven on human cognition. Mozart’s sonata increased “alpha band” brainwaves, which are crucially linked to memory, cognition, and problem-solving. Interesting right?
Do’s and Don’ts
In the workplace, it is important to consider those around you. Not everyone enjoys listening to music as they work—and even fewer people will appreciate someone blasting Nicki Minaj. So we have put together a few crucial Do’s and Don’ts:
Be respectful of your colleagues who may not share your tastes.
Keep the volume low enough to hear someone trying to get your attention.
Use headphones in a shared office space to limit disruption.
Distract those around you with incessant humming, tapping, and singing as you listen.
Blast music as you communicate with co-workers, if you are at work you should give your full attention.
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