How Music At The Office Affects Your Work
We were sat at the office today and the ritual prep for the Christmas party began. A mix of festive songs turned in to a collection of songs getting more and more diverse. It got me thinking, some people can’t get by without music in the background. You here stories of students revising with some insisting they need music, others suggestion its too distracting. Personally I love it, as long as it music I am in to and it matches my mood.
But is that just me? I did a little bit of digging and then came across an article in Business Week (obviously on my favourite in my browser) about this very subject.
The article explored how music has encroached on our work lives, beginning in the 1940s when music started playing in lifts (or elevators as they called it). It then looked at Muzac and how “stimulus progression” was used. It suggested that “the intensity of the music was increased to ensure employees felt energised”. When I think muzac I think the awful stuff that plays in supermarkets or shopping centres (or should I say malls?).
So all of that was “interesting” however it gets really interesting when you consider how the music we listen to can subconsciously impact how we feel and work. This may seem an obvious statement as we all know we listen to music to affect our mood. A brilliant diagram was included int he article, which I take and rip off unashamedly.
The key elements of this diagram for me are in focus. The report suggests when 50 surgeons were tested with various music. Their problem solving abilities improved when they were allowed to pick their own soundtrack.
We did a quick straw poll of around 20 people (not as scientific as the above) but of those 20 people, only 5 claimed that music distracted them whilst at work. When pushed and asked if getting your head down with music playing on a personal level helped get through mentally taxing work the 5 went down to 2.
Our conclusion is that music genuinely has a positive impact on people’s working environment and performance. However, it does seem to vary and has a bigger impact when the playlist is personal to the individual. So when you get back in the office tell your boss that you are putting on your headphones and hooking up to Spotify or your iPod. If he or she says anything send them our way.