The music industry has proof that you should listen to music while you work. In a survey commissioned by the UK licensing organizations PPL and PRS for Music, 77 percent of surveyed businesses say playing music in the workplace increases staff morale and improves the atmosphere. The results seemed to be greater productivity. However a summary of recent research from Taiwan shows while some background music can increase worker satisfaction and productivity, music with lyrics could have significant negative effects on concentration and attention. The study concluded that music without lyrics is preferable, as lyrics are likely to reduce worker attention and performance.
HOW TO MAKE MUSIC WORK AT WORK
There is no easy solution to developing a productive playlist for two or more people. Like all good work procedures and strategies, it takes time and it starts with being proactive instead of re-active. Take the time to identify the diverse needs and cultures of the group you belong to. Here are three suggested guidelines for helping your group use and select music at work:
a) Discuss the BENEFITS of playing music in your environment. Having an open dialogue about the potential benefits of music is the first step. Discuss the research and your particular desired outcomes. . Stay with the benefits and do not go with the concerns as # 2 will help you with any problems that may occur.
b) Organize a forum where everyone can discuss their list of PREFERENCES
- Identify a compilation of BENIGN music (music that everyone can accept) – this may take several days or weeks. Don’t rush. Try to enjoy the process as much as the desired product.
- Set guidelines around WHEN the music will be played (it is best if it is only specific times of day.
- Use music to CONNECT with your teammates. My favourite activity when working with people at the office is to organize Friday Lunches that includes one teammatess ‘Best Top 6 Songs’ that boost their mood. This is a great way to deepen relationships quickly at work.
The benefits of playing music at work are numerous but they are different for everyone. For the employer, it may be boosting efficiency, expediting projects, and working with greater enthusiasm. For the staff member, it may be sparking creativity or help for working through a barrier in a project. Keep in mind that not everyone feels more productive, creative, or inspired when listening to music. Instead, they may feel distracted, stalled, or annoyed. This is the primary reason why it is important to start with honest discussion that includes all team members and calling in a facilitator when necessary.
As I repeat time and time again in TUNE IN, what makes music powerful is the intention in which it is used – use music with intention and improved productivity is possible.
Jennifer Buchanan, BMT, MTA is the happy owner of JB Music Therapy and Author of TUNE IN. Our “Music Speaks” Blog aims to inspire you to use music with greater intention and knowledge. Call us to help or and browse our resources here.