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5 Ways Listening to Music at Work Increases Productivity

Inbound Marketing


Walk into our office at any point during the day and chances are good you’ll either see Megan bobbing her head, hear Raquel singing one of her Latin tunes or notice that half of us are wearing headphones. Why? It’s not that we’re anti-social — well, once we’ve had our morning coffee anyway. Rather, it’s been proven that listening to (the right kind of) music can seriously increase productivity at work.

This is an important thing to keep in mind whether you’re a CEO at a major company, manager at an inbound marketing agency, or simply someone who works in front of a computer all day. After all, productivity leads to results, which leads to revenue, which leads to success. Win-win-win.

Not on the music-at-work bandwagon yet? That’s OK; here are five reasons you should be:

1. It Cancels Out Other Noises

It doesn’t matter if you work for a company with 10 employees or 10,000;, there will always be noisy distractions in an office environment. From Phil’s knuckle-cracking habit to Mary’s afternoon phone calls with her sister, these interruptions can seriously hamper your efficiency. Listening to music can cancel out these noises, giving you an opportunity to escape into your work. With more and more offices encouraging collaboration and open spaces these days, it only makes sense to have a pair of headphones nearby.

2. It Helps You Focus

Studies show that just 15-30 minutes of listening to music can help a person regain concentration. But since music stimulates your brain and uses cognitive resources, not every type of music will work, especially when it comes to immersive tasks. For these cases, try to listen to ambient sounds, songs without any lyrics, or familiar tunes that you already know. You’ll be free from distractions and will be able to focus, but you won’t use too much brainpower.

(Sorry Metallica, you’ll have to wait for the gym.)

3. It Improves Your Mood

Ever heard of dopamine? It’s a chemical in the brain that controls reward and pleasure centers. You experience it with things like crossing the finish line of a race or after eating an expensive, satisfying meal. Listening to music (especially music you like) encourages the release of dopamine, which boosts your mood. As any manager or psychologist will tell you, “a happy worker is a productive worker.”

4. It Makes Repetitive or Monotonous Tasks Easier to Complete

If you’re checking emails or entering data, music can be a great way to stay in a groove. Music in general has predictable beats, rhythms and sounds, so it helps your brain predict what’s next and doesn’t require a lot of cognitive ability. Outside sounds are unpredictable or stressful, so listening to music helps you immerse yourself in the task at hand and maintain productivity.

5. It Balances Your Personal and Professional Life

One of the great things about the workplace is that there are a variety of different individuals coming together to accomplish a goal. Each person has a unique personality with different tastes and hobbies. By listening to music that personally resonates, you can bring a bit of your personal life to your professional one. Again, this boosts mood, but also promotes a more balanced lifestyle.

To sum it all up, here’s how our resident Inbound & SEO Specialist (and Psychology major) Cyndi Oaxaca describes the relationship between music and work productivity:

 “Like with most other things, listening to music while working requires proper balance. Studies show that listening to music universally improves mood, but the devil is in the details, and that mood does not always correlate with improved productivity. For example, music at too high of a tempo increases anxiety, and some genres of music can serve as a distraction. Low to moderate tempo music tends to be best, and for most people, an absence of lyrics is the key to productivity. That being said, a positive attitude around the office is truly the key to office success and that alone should be reason enough to have some form of music on air at all times.”

Well said. Ridiculous results are one of our core values and music often helps make it happen. If you’re looking for ways to increase productivity at work, give it a try.

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