How Listening To Music At Work Boosts Productivity

Last updated on April 19th, 2018 at 07:41 am

Does your company allow you to listen to music while you work? Do you work in a job in which it is possible to listen to music while you work? If so, then you should certainly think about listening to music, as studies show that that listening to music can actually make worker’s more productive.

Take this  study by Teresa Lesiuk from the University of Windsor, Canada called The Effect Of Music Listening on Work Performance on technology staff found that those who were listening to music completed work faster and to a higher quality standard then those who were not listening to music. They also found that individuals who listened to music while working had a more positive frame of mind and had better perception on design while working, which means they were more creative.

Also, another study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association has also shown that surgeons carrying out operations worked more accurately when they were listening to music that they liked, and they were also the most relaxed. So, what’s important here is that if you are an employer planning to allow music that you encourage a more head phone orientated music environment so people can listen to the music of their choice, rather than having an open music and speaker system.

If you are looking for a confidence boost prior to a big event, such as a job interview or presentation, then you should try listening to what has been termed bass-heavy high power music. Yes, this study by Kellogg Business School and INSEAD researchers shows that listening to base-heavy music made participannts feel more powerful, determined and confident. It also made that behave in a more confident way as 34% of those who listened to the high-power list of songs chose to go first in a suggested debate and just 20% of those who had been listening to songs from the low-power playlist. The top three most high-power, confidence invoking songs were:

  • Queen’s “We Will Rock You,”
  • 2 Unlimited’s “Get Ready for This,”
  • 50 Cent’s “In Da Club”

Since studies show that feelings of confidence lead to better interview performance, listening to a high-power, bass-heavy play list prior to interview or any big event you are participating in, should improve your performance.

Music can also work to help manage your mood finds a study from the University of Italy. They discovered that music with faster tempos made people breathe faster and be more excited and roused which could be a great way to introduce energy if you or a team are feeling flat. But, they also found that music with lower tempos slowed people heart rates and reduced tension and so listening to lower tempo music at work can be used to reduce stress and induce relaxation. If you are looking for some relaxing music, try this Keep Calm And Chillout, CD from Sony Music.

So using music appropriately to manage your moods at work can help you to be more effective and productive.

This study by Mindlab International reported in the Telegraph shows how listening to different kinds off music can boost performance in specific areas of work.

For example, if you listen to classical music when doing work requiring numbers of attention to detail you can improve problem solving accuracy by 12%

Pop music on the other can make you 58% faster if listened to while doing data entry tasks.

If you are doing work involving equations or revising for your maths exam you might want to listen to ambient music as this can improve accuracy in this task.

  • If you are a proofreader, then listen to dance music while working as this can increase proof-reading speed by 20%.

But, music does not boost productivity in all situations. For example a 2010 study by the University of Wales Institute Cardiff has found an exception to the case of music boosting productivity. They found that music can impair short-term memory performance. Their studies showed that students who were listening to music while recalling a list of consonants in their presentation order, remember fewer items than when the task was performed in silence. The researchers found that its serves as a distraction to cognitively demanding tasks.

So, ideally allowing employees to listen to music (ideally through head phones) could boost productivity in many circumstances but clearly some tasks are best performed in silence or while listening to music you actually like.

This is a guest post from Sebastian Lugert of who is passionate about telling the world how music can be used not just for fun and relaxation, but also for education, mind and mood management and to increase personal effectiveness.

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