Music In The Workplace: Mistake or Motivator?

Written on Friday, 21 October 2016


Working in an open plan office means having to listen to people’s phone calls, finger drumming, brainstorming sessions and even their music. Having background noise can be comforting to some and a distraction to others. What do you prefer? Music in the workplace - do you view it as a mistake or a motivator? There have been many studies surrounding this topic. Read more about the ways music effects employees’ productivity:

1. Efficiency

According to a study by Fox and Embrey (1972) music is effective in increasing efficiency when employees were carrying out repetitive tasks. Another study adds that pop music is particularly effective for employees doing data entry or working to a deadline as participants completed the task 58% faster than when not listening to music.

2. Morale

Upbeat music makes people happy by releasing dopamine, the feel-good chemical in the brain. Dopamine also reduces stress levels making employees less susceptible to stress-related illnesses and being absent from work. UK licensing organisations PPL and PRS for Music found that 77% of businesses they surveyed stated that playing music in the workplace improved the atmosphere and increased staff morale. 

3. Concentration

If you want to improve your concentration levels, try listening to music without lyrics so that your brain doesn’t have to decipher between the words you’re hearing and the words you’re trying to think of. You’ll get the same results by listening to music in a different language that you don’t understand. Choosing a sound of your choice such as your favourite album will also heighten your concentration levels by suppressing other distractions around the workspace.

However, some employees in open plan offices without quiet spaces, cubicles or office dividers may view music as a distraction. It could inhibit them and have a negative effect on their work. Whether employers need to encourage a headphone policy or incorporate private areas into their space it is important they put practices into place that suits all of their teams’ style of working.

How do you feel about listening to music in the workplace? Does it benefit or hinder your work? Tweet us here.


music, productivity, industry insights

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