With the rise of smartphones and streaming music services, the effect of music on workplace productivity has become a subject of popular debate. Many people claim that it increases focus, while others consider it an unnecessary distraction. Luckily, there now exists scientific research to help answer the question- and the results may surprise you!
Music Makes Us Happy, Which Increases Productivity & Efficiency
Listening to music encourages the release of dopamine in the brain, which produces a more positive mood-- and a happy mind is a more productive mind! Research on the effect of music on workplace performance, conducted by Dr. Teresa Lesuik, Assistant Professor of Music Therapy at the University of Miami, found that people who listened to music while working completed their tasks faster and more efficiently than those who didn’t. Research commissioned by MusicWorks found that 81% of people work faster and 88% made fewer errors when listening to music while completing office-based tasks. In the following video, Dr. David Lewis discusses these findings in more detail:
Music Increases Creativity & Helps Expand Your Mindset
Music can be particularly helpful when you are facing a creativity block. According to Dr. Lesuik, music "breaks you out of thinking [in just] one way." She correlates this increase in creativity to the boost in mood that music provides: "When you’re stressed, you might make a decision more hastily; you have a very narrow focus of attention....when you’re in a positive mood, you’re able to take in more options."
Music Creates Personal Space & Improves Concentration
As open workplaces continue to rise in popularity, the possibility of becoming distracted by those around you increases. Music helps create a boundary between you and your coworkers by drowning out distractions and helping you to work more peacefully. It has also been shown that music improves focus and concentration, specifically by helping to "bring us back to the present moment," according to an article from the New York Times.
The research clearly supports the positive effect of music in the workplace. However, it is important to consider the type of music you choose to listen to, as this can directly influence the benefits you receive. This article from The Telegraph outlines which genre of music is most effective for the specific type of task you are working on.
Does music help you work better? If you are unsure, give it a try! Here are some playlists designed for workplace listening to get you started:
Best songs to listen to at work, by Digital Trends
Top office playlists from TOPDOX