Most workplaces allow music to be played during work hours. It could be piped in through a central sound system for the entire workplace. As an alternative, individual workers may listen to their own playlists on their computers or through mobile devices. The question is, does music in the workplace help productivity? Or hurt it?
Here are just a few talking points in the ongoing debate about on-the-job music:
- Music makes repetitive tasks enjoyable – If your job involves a lot of repetition, you may start to feel like a robot and disengage mentally. Adding music to the mix can help enliven your work, improving your efficiency and increasing your professional satisfaction.
- Certain music can be a distraction – A noisy workplace can bother some employees and bog down their productivity. Those same employees may instead benefit from putting on a pair of headphones and listening to music that they find calming and/or motivating.
- Music can spur creativity – There is a thin line separating inspiring music from loud, distracting music that squashes concentration and creativity. If you can find equilibrium, music can open the brain to greater creativity and productivity.
- Lyrics can be distracting – Some people may appreciate soft background music but find it difficult to maintain concentration when the music has lyrics. They may find themselves trying to draft an email, only to have their thought processes muddled by the words to the songs they are hearing.
- Familiarity is best for focus – Workers can generally focus more on their work as they listen to familiar music. Unfamiliar music may become a hindrance.
The trick seems to lie in striking the proper balance to suit different work environments, styles and levels of focus. Talk openly with your employees and co-workers to find music options that work for everyone. I personally listen to Pandora myself, every day.