Does music at work increase productivity?
Having a horrible song stuck in your head is one of the most irritating things about being human. (“Don’t Stop Believin’” is one that particularly tortures me.) Even a good song, once stuck, can really drive you crazy. So what about listening to music at work? Is it good or bad for productivity?
I remember as a kid being told that studying with music on was not okay; silence was synonymous with learning. As an adult, I’m so relieved that music is allowed and encouraged in most work environments. Obviously, depending on the industry, policies around tuning in vary. (If you’ve ever worked retail, you’re familiar with the soul-crushing Christmas playlists that start right after Halloween.)
So what are the facts here?
I’m primarily talking about music in an office environment and fortunately, there have been many studies done about this very subject. After all, music is such a significant part of the human experience and work is well, work, so the relationship between the two is quite complex.
According to a study by Mindlab International:
- 81% of employees worked fastest when listening to tunes
- 88% of people’s work was more accurate when listening to music
- 90% of workers perform better overall with music on
- 65% of employers believe music makes their teams more productive
All of that bodes well for jamming while we crank out our respective work, and it’s not surprising considering music actually releases dopamine which, literally, gives us all the good feels. I was curious to hear, (pun intended), what our crew at 2TON felt about music in our space. So I asked some questions…and the responses just poured in. I’ve compiled a few of my favorite quotes from our team.
“I personally can’t stand a quiet office…We get a mixed bag of repeats. fice…Some songs have been haunting us for years. Modest Mouse,” Ryan Boylston
“I almost threw away my computer when I heard a Lumineers song,” Bradley Hale
“She was getting lulled to sleep…so I put on Queen,” Aram
“Aram, what’s that music you normally put on? That really bad music? What’s the name of it?” Stephanie Roy
“Whatever this song playing right now is. I’m screwed for 3 days minimum,” Stephen Compton
So, music is good for productivity, that’s a fact. But a lot depends on what music. According to Mindlab; pop music is best for accuracy and speed, classical is best for math and problem solving, ambient music is good for data entry, and dance music is best for proofreading. Anyway, embrace the tunes at work, try to find common ground with co-workers, and when all else fails, put on headphones–either for your choice of noise or to grab some silence.