Listening to music at work makes us more productive. With music flowing through us, we are quicker, less stressed, more creative, focused, even happier. Go music!
Here are 12 good reasons. Check it out.
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But does music REALLY make us more productive? What the science says…
The question on everyone’s mind is: can music really make you more productive?
Some people might thrive on silence but various research has shown that music can help to hone emotions and focus the mind in order to complete tasks. There are several points that make the case towards sound being a catalyst for productivity.
It isn’t the music itself, but rather the improved mood your favorite music brings that is the source of this bump in productivity.
In a study by Lesiuk in 2005, the results found that it wasn’t the music itself but rather the mood elicited by favored songs increased workload. Listening to a good old Summer classic would bring a smile to your face and make you want to work more. Everyone does less work when they’re in a mood, so throw on your preferred tune and enjoy the sound while working.
Music in the major mode, or key, has better results
The Lesiuk study also found that even background music can have a positive effect on performance. Music in the major mode (imagine happier keys) played in the background has better results than no music.
Open offices are noisy workplaces, music is an escape
Work in a loud office full of typing, photocopiers and gossip? Nick Perham, 2013 found these environments can ‘impair employees ability to recall information’. These types of background sounds can have a negative effect upon work.
Lyrics can be distracting
Jahncke et al studied the effects of workplace conversations being a negative influence on focus. 48% of participants noted intelligible talking as being the sound which distracted them most. This highlights the negative effect lyrics could have. For tasks that don’t require verbal architecture, lyrics can have a positive or calming effect as found by Lesiuk.
The Mozart Theory….
Mozart. I’m sure you’ve heard of him and you may have heard about a theory called ‘The Mozart Effect’. First coined by Alfred Tomatis in 1991, the theory has been popularized over the years to suggest several possibilities. Listening to Mozart can temporarily increase spatial reasoning: studies suggest 15 mins up to an hour (Rauscher et al, 1993). Lots of new, keen parents hope to create little prodigies by playing classical music to pregnant women or to newborns but there has been no definite proof of this. Sorry parents out there!
Most studies have attempted to see if the Mozart Effect actually exists; results have shown the link towards increased performance may be linked towards emotional responses. So Mozart makes you happy, Mozart increases workload. In small print: it never hurts to listen to a little Mozart!
The effect of music on the brain
A team from Stanford used brain images to show participants listening to music had parts of their brain stimulated that silence could not do. Music moved parts of the brain to concentrate and focus on one task at a time; very useful when studying for those exams!
University of Illinois researchers found that listening to music in ‘all types of work’ increased work output up to 6.3% over a control group
Ferreri et al, 2013, found that background music can help to activate the encoding of verbal material in participant’s brains. This would be highly useful for anyone listening to music while repeating phrases to remember.
Hate music while you work?
Tze and Chou, 2010, found that music with a ‘higher intensity’ is more distracting and had a greater effect on participant’s concentration. They used classical, hip hop music and silence as a control. So hip-hop, rap and dance music might be a no no when trying to concentrate
In a study dissected by MetaFilter, 56 employees working on basic computer tasks were found to be more productive when no music was playing compared to another group listening to music.
So as you see the jury is out. Science backs up both that music does and doesn’t increase our productivity. I guess then it largely comes down to personality type and how accustomed one is to listening the Wedding Present while one works (which is what I’m doing now, here’s the link :P)
12 Ways That Music Makes You More Productive At Work (words from the infographic)
1. Instant Mood Lifter
A great piece of music is an instant mood lifter. Plenty of scientific evidence backs this up – we’re happier bunnies when listening to music.
2. Makes Repetitive Tasks More Enjoyable
Oh the drudgery of repetitive tasks! Music shakes a stick at those dull ‘copy paste’ tasks and makes them even fun!
3. Gets You Into A ‘Flow State’
A flow state is when you lose yourself in the task at hand. Guess what…music, especially the right type of music, helps us get into that state.
4. Speeds Up Your Work
With music oozing through you and all those endorphins firing, you turn into something like the the Bradley Cooper character from the movie Limitless (without the magic pills).
5. Reduces Distractions
Distractions are the bane of the workplace. Music puts us on a ‘focus groove’ that makes us hell-bent on getting the job done.
6. Drowns Out Colleagues!
We all love our colleagues (right?!). But like family, even our beloved work mates (and their chit-chat) need to be channeled out when there’s stuff that needs doing.
7. Provides Company In A Quiet Office
Not all workplaces are noisy places. Far from it. A workplace that’s too quiet can be just as big a productivity suck. Music gives you a little oasis of company so you don’t go all lonely (just don’t go singing out loud).
8. Brings Out Your Creative Side
We are not cogs in giant machine, we’re people. And people are inherently creative (they just may not know it). Music is a creativity personified, and listening to it rubs off on you too.
9. Makes You Wanna Move
The ‘office chair slump’ is a symptom of spending too long staring at your screen. With some Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag pumping into your eardrums it would be humanly impossible not not to have a little wiggle in your chair.
10. Adds A Virtual ‘Do Not Disturb’ Sign
The office equivalent of the ‘do not disturb’ sign, the headphones on head pose (the bigger the headphones the better) says loud and clear ‘I’m busy doing deep work, don’t pester me’. Throw those pesky ear plug in the bin and get some cans.
11. Makes You More Sociable
Come again, more sociable listening to music? Yup. You may be locked away behind a set of head cans while you’re doing your work, but when you take off those muffs you’re almost brimming with conversation you want to unleash.
12. Stops The Clock Watching
Too much clock watching is a dangerous thing. Music helps you find that flow state and before you know it, you’re immersed in the task and the day is over.
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