Music – performance enhancer or a distraction?
2,000 workers were surveyed as a part of an international study, from a variety of industries including construction, finance and healthcare. The study found that one in two people listen to music more often since COVID lockdowns, reporting that it positively impacts their work lives.
Pop music was found to be the favourite genre across all industries, followed by rock and classical music. Healthcare staff preferred to listen to music out loud, while all other industries opted to play it through personal headphones.
iHR Australia’s recent poll showed the similar results with 46% of respondents preferring to listen to music via headphones.
We asked our the iHR team to weigh on the music debate…asking the team if they like to listen to music at work or if they prefer silence?
The general consensus was everyone we surveyed preferred some sort of music, played softly or through headphones, because it helps to make the day more fun and breaks up the monotony.
Gloria Junior Accountant said she has always loved listening to music whilst working and studying. “It keeps me focused!”
While John our Marketing Coordinator, said that music alleviates stressful periods at work and allows him to zone in and focus on different projects.
The same international study revealed multiple reasons why there’s a connection between music, productivity, and well-being:
It’s scientifically proven that music stimulates the hippocampus region of the brain, the same area that controls memory. This may explain why some people are so good at remembering their favourite song lyrics!
Music can motivate
When employees have exciting music to listen to in their workspace, they become more excited about coming to the office – a phenomenon that leads to more pride in one’s work, and greater motivation to do the best job possible.
Stephen Bell, iHR Australia’s Managing Director and part-time composer recognises the impact music can have as a mental stimulant.
“I am not sure that the music one listens to, in itself is always a motivator. Instead, it is having access to the music that relaxes or gives one a sense of comfort or satisfaction that in turn influences one’s level of engagement within a work situation or the specific activities undertaken. That’s why wearing a set of comfortable headphones and listening to a playlist that relaxes and focuses lifts concentration and productivity.
“That said, rhythms, melodies, musical arrangements and musical arrangements can directly impact on emotions and one’s mental state. Many of us have a favourite playlist for exercise or that helps us with sleep. These lists influence the brain, and in some cases, lifting levels of motivation,” Stephen said.
Music may decrease anxiety
Research found that calming music soothes the mind. Classical music can help to reduce employee’s anxiety, especially during a particularly stressful period.
“The music that puts me in the right state of mind to work on activities that require concentration and focus has gentle rhythms, calming melodies and warm arrangements. One of my favourite producers David Foster created an album ‘Recordings’ which has remained, for many years, one of my ‘favourite workmates’,” Stephen said.
Music makes us happy
The research also found that upbeat music causes our brains to produce chemicals like dopamine and serotonin, which makes us feel joy.
Not convinced? Maybe you should crank up the tunes and test it out for yourself!