It has become more common for workers and students to just let the music flow. Even companies are playing music for their employees during their working day. Yes, that’s right, music. It used to be considered an unpopular practice and, frankly, this comes as no surprise. It was commonly believed that playing music in the workplace would distract employees and prevent them from performing efficiently, which could, at the same time, interrupt the workplace harmony and negatively affect performance. However, this was only a misconception, as various researchers have demonstrated the opposite: listening to music while working, reading, writing, or even studying helps improve productivity and performance. In fact, Teresa Lesiuk, assistant professor in the Music Therapy Program at the University of Miami, proves so in her research “The Effect of Music Listening on Work Performance.” She assures that when listening to music, people can make better decisions. Moreover, it can help them feel less stressed.
In more technical terms, an experiment conducted by the McGill College proves that music activates the regions of the brain that are directly related to other euphoric stimuli. Therefore, when listening to music, people feel the same emotion or relief as when eating or having sexual intercourse, for example.
On top of that, one research conducted by Mindlab International, commissioned by MusicWorks, confirms that 9 out of 10 workers have a better working performance while listening to music. How is that even possible? According to Peter Quily, an adult attention deficit disorder coach, when we listen to our favourite music, our brain produces dopamine, a hormone that helps reduce stress and increase our activity levels, as well as improve our productivity and performance. In fact, listening to music increases our creativity, motivation, and concentration levels. Similarly, it breaks our monotonous train of thoughts, making us able to think outside the box, especially in the workplace.
However, even though listening to music is very effective, there are also some things you should take into consideration while playing your music at the office:
• Listen at an acceptable volume: if it’s too loud, it could have a negative effect on you, as it would probably be a great distraction for both you and your coworkers.
• Take it easy: in order to avoid sound saturation, it is necessary to turn the music off at times.
• Choose wisely: picking the right music for every task can help you be more productive because people usually have a different reaction depending on their musical taste. Research has pointed out that it is a good idea to listen to different music styles based on the task at hand. For example, for those who perform manual tasks, such as carpenters, construction workers or mechanics, it is advisable to listen to energetic music, such as rock, because it fills workers with energy and motivation. On the other hand, office employees, who need to be in front of a computer for long periods of time, should listen to repetitive rhythms, such as disco, techno, or electronic music. Just remember to use your headphones in order not to disturb others.
• Stick to what you know: listen to music that you already know. If you choose new songs and you like them very much, your dopamine levels will increase beyond regular levels. When that happens, you won’t be able to focus since you will pay more attention to new songs.
It’s also important to mention that, while young adults can get great benefits from music, other studies demonstrate that it can be a distracting element, especially for older people. As we get older, we gradually lose our associative memory, which makes it easier for us to make mistakes when doing an activity or a task surrounded by noise.
In the right circumstances, listening to music is a great asset at work. Account executive at DM Public Relations Vicent Paciarello affirms it: “I strongly recommend everyone listens to music at work, if possible. It really lightens up the day and makes the time go by a bit faster.” So, take your headphones, keep the right volume, and rock your work.
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