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Pump up the tunes: Can music improve work productivity?

Pump up the tunes: Can music improve work productivity?

July 2017 by

Listening to music at work

Listening to music at work has become commonplace across a vast number of industries. What effect does this have on productivity?


Music is a staple of everyday life for many people; we listen in the car, on our commute, while we're doing the dishes or sometimes even when we're sleeping. Due to the digitalisation of music, we're able to take it with us anywhere on our phones and MP3 players - even to work.

Depending on the rigidity of your workplace, you may or may not be allowed to listen to tunes while you plug away at your daily workload. If you are, have you noticed whether or not it affects your efficiency at work? Here is some recent information regarding music and productivity at work.

Have you noticed whether or not listening to music affects your efficiency at work?


Music and productivity are closely correlated

Listening to music while working has become commonplace in today's day and age, but how does it affect productivity? Chris Bailey, author of The Productivity Project, conducted an interesting experiment where for five weeks he listened to a different genre of music (or no music at all) at work and measured the effect it had on his productivity.


Over the time period, Bailey listened to instrumentals, slow jams, pop, rock and no music - all for a week each, according to his blog. He found that the more familiar and less complicated the music, the more easily he was able to concentrate on the task at hand. However, he claims that music distracted him from more difficult tasks, such as researching and writing.


Researchers at Cornell have also found a link between upbeat music and cooperation at work - they found that employees were more inclined to work together when listening to happy tunes than they were with heavy metal or no music at all. 

Listening to music at work

Listening to music at work could increase your productivity.


Should I be listening to music at work?

Whether or not listening to music at work would make you more productive depends entirely on your individual personality. Introverts and extroverts respond differently to music at work; extroverts tend to feel energised, but introverts can feel over-stimulated, according to NBC News.

The type of tasks you're doing can also have an impact on whether or not music would help you work. As demonstrated by Chris Bailey's experiment, complicated jobs that require concentration might be made even more difficult with headphones in. Ultimately, each person is different - consider doing an experiment of your own to see whether or not making a productivity playlist would work for you.

For more tips on productivity, check out Reo's blog!