6 types of music that enhance productivity

Music puts you in the mood.

In the mood for partying, romance, exercise. It can make you happy, sad, calm.

But does it put you in the mood for work? Can it make you more productive?

Turns out it does (according to research).

Music can cause your brain to release dopamine, the brain’s pleasure chemical, which can improve your mood. It can enhance your efficiency if you’re performing repetitive tasks. And ambient music (moderate noise) can help get your creative juices flowing.

But before you start pumping out some sounds — not all music is good.

Music to play to enhance productivity

Nature sounds
A 2015 study found that playing natural sounds in an office environment could improve workers’ cognitive skills and mood. Bird calls, flowing water, rain, wind. Perhaps stretching the bounds of ‘music’ but could be worth a try if it’s going to make you more productive!

Classical music
A study by MindLab International found listening to classical music helps if your work involves numbers or attention to detail. Workers were better at solving mathematical problems when listening to classical music, which improved accuracy by 12pc compared to listening to no music at all.

Music you enjoy
Listening to music that you like can help you work quicker. The theory is, it taps into regions of the brain that control your emotions. Listening to music that evokes positive feelings can lead to greater levels of productivity. But on the other hand, music that evokes painful memories can make focusing more difficult (eg: no break-up songs!).
Familiar music
It may also be beneficial to listen to music you’re familiar with if you need to intensely focus. With familiar music, you know what lies ahead so the sound doesn’t become your primary focus. Whereas with music you’re not familiar with, you don’t know what to expect, so you listen closely to see what comes next, distracting you from your work.

Music without lyrics
Lyrics can be distracting, particularly when performing complex tasks that require problem-solving or high-level cognitive skills. In one study researchers played music with and without lyrics in a work environment and observed the effects. Background music with lyrics had a significant negative effect on concentration and attention.

Electronic music
Electronic music tends to be ‘present but unobtrusive.’ It’s also repetitive. Electronic ‘soundscapes’ focus on a few melodies that repeat and build on each other. The song’s focus will help your focus, with the repeating tones in the background (and minimal lyrics).

Should you play music in the office?

There you have it. Research shows that some types of music can help you be more productive at work.

So why not pump music around the office? Fine tune your playlists for focus and get the music pumping all day long.

The problem is one size doesn’t fit all. Some people like to work in silence and not everyone shares the same taste in music.

Enter headphones.

Look around the office. How many people do you see with headphones or earbuds? Headphones mean people can control what they listen to and when. They can use music to help them focus and to block out the distractions of the office.

But are headphones really the answer? Don’t they take away from the idea of the open office, where communication flows and ideas are exchanged; problems solved in the moment.

There’s got to be a better way.

A better solution would be music to my ears!

Our mission at Crestline is to help create vibrant and effective workspaces where people love to work. Want to find out more? Give us a call on 07 855 9932 or email info@crestline.co.nz

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