Music has been with us since prehistoric times in one form or another, growing with human society and culture, and taking new shapes one century after another. Humans have become so accustomed to it that listening to music has become second nature. We take music in our lives so much for granted that we rarely stop to think how it influences our mood or daily actions.
For example, did you know that listening to music at the office can make you more productive?
Music and business – an unexpected match
Listening to music is not an activity reserved for free time and parties only. In fact, according to the latest surveys, more than half of employees listen to music at work.
Compared to people who do not listen to music, those who do are 90% more productive and, more than that, they provide more accurate work. The habit of listening to music at the office isn’t looked down upon by managers either. Around 77% of them agree that music gives employees a morale boost and almost half believe that it improves their performance in sectors such as sales.
The science behind it all
Scientific studies back up what people already instinctively know: music influences the human brain. When listening to music, multiple areas of our brains are activated. This includes the motor cortex (responsible for movement), the nucleus accumbens, amygdala, and cerebellum (responsible for stimulating emotion). The hippocampus (stimulates memories), Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas (language processing) also get stimulated.
When listening to music, the brain releases dopamine, the same chemical released when we eat our favorite food. Apart from making us feel pleasure, dopamine also improves focus. Which leads us to…
Music and productivity
Listening to music is a powerful productivity tool. Whether you have an office station or you just put on your headphones, once you hit play, you are bound to work better, faster and make less mistakes. Music helps you focus, blocking external distractions and allowing you to tackle difficult tasks with more motivation. In addition, your favorite tunes can also reduce stress and anxiety. So, for example, if you are coping with personal issues, music could protect your work performance.
Those who work in a challenging, stressful office environment can keep things under control by listening to music. Music produces the same amount of relaxation as a massage, so this is the simplest way to reduce anxiety and overcome negative emotions.
Aside from using music to increase productivity, scientists also say that this activity can increase memory. It’s one of the main reasons why students are constantly recommended to study for exams while listening to music.
The benefits of listening to music at work don’t just apply to the office environment. Workers in just about any field can benefit from these effects.
Other benefits of listening to music
Apart from boosting performance and productivity, listening to music has been scientifically proven to offer additional health benefits, including:
- decreasing pain
- improving insomnia
- increasing physical endurance
- speeding up recovery
- relieving symptoms of depression and other mental health issues
See Also: 4 Ways To Overcome Depression Naturally
Apart from these, several studies have also suggested that listening to music while eating could make people consume smaller food portions and have increased blood flow. However, more research is needed.
What genre of music should you listen to for a productivity boost?
Not all music influences you in the same way. Some genres are recommended for certain office activities:
• Ambient music seems to be the most effective. According to research, it improves focus, so it’s perfect for tasks that require attention to details, such as data entry. Ambient music is quite neutral, so it doesn’t distract you.
• Pop music is happy and upbeat, so it makes you work faster. One study showed that people who were listening to pop music while doing data entry were 58% faster. Pop music also reduces mistakes by 14%.
• Dance music also helps you work faster, but not just in data entry. For example, if you have a proofreading task, you can complete it 20% faster by listening to dance beats.
• Classical music has a great impact on work accuracy. Pick a classical radio station and your work will be 12% more accurate!
Of course, these are just general studies about the influence of music genres on productivity and results may vary depending on what kind of music you normally listen to. Broadly speaking, scientists recommend workers to listen to music without lyrics if they are doing something that involves linguistic processing. Otherwise, lyrics will become a distraction.
Also, while discovering new music is always fun, the workplace is probably not the best place to explore songs. Discovering new music interferes with your ability to process new information. For improved performance and focus, scientists recommend that we stick to familiar songs we know and love.