The relationship between work and music goes back a long time. The trend of music accompanying workers goes back to the 1930s. Recorded music was often played in factories to help them better deal with repetitive tasks.
Nowadays, you can hear music blasting from an evergrowing number of offices. Some managers believe music helps their teams become more focused and motivated while others believe that music should only be played in their free time because it has a negative impact on productivity.
To end the fight between music lovers and “out of office hours” music lovers we turned to science for some answers. Here’s what we found:
Music improves your mood and health
Have you ever wondered why people have the time of their lives at parties? Why they seem so free while dancing and why they are in such a good mood? Music does that. Listening to music can transform your negative, sad, boring mood into an uplifting one.
Research shows that music triggers the release of dopamine in our brain the same way that eating something sweet and delicious does. It lifts the team’s spirits, having both physical and psychological advantages. Moreover, it seems that people who listen to music at work are more able to cooperate and make better group decisions.
Music works on the autonomic nervous system, responsible for controlling our blood pressure, heart rate, anxiety as well as the limbic system (responsible for emotions and feelings). Music’s positive effects can be seen after only 25 minutes of listening.
Having people at work that are happy, stress free and in a good mood creates a better work environment thus, you will see teams bond and work harder and better. Whether you are a manager or not, bring out those speakers and start playing music for your team. They will thank you for it. Also, it’s fun watching an entire office bob their heads to the same beat ;)
Listening to music can make your work faster and more efficient
In a research conducted by Mindlab International, 26 participants had to accomplish a wide range of tasks 5 days in a row. Some of them listened to different genres of music while completing their tasks while others didn’t listen to music at all.
After five days the results were surprising: 81% of the participants completed their tasks faster and more efficiently when they had music in the background.
However, not every type of music is good for your work efficiency. It is said that music with lyrics helps people working on repetitive or mundane tasks because it creates a kind of relief from the monotony of automatic, boring work, while ambiental music is perfect for a boost of creativity. Classical music is better for exact, mathematical tasks, while house music is good for proofreading and dance music helps you work faster and more accurately.
Listening to music on your headphones helps you focus
Have you ever worked on a very important task only to be interrupted by your co-worker talking on the phone with their parents or biting their nails? Something as small as this can have a huge negative impact on your focus when something important is at stake.
Here is where music comes in because it creates a closed personal world where nothing can interfere. It has a neutralizing effect on the outside world helping you focus on what you are working on. Think of music as a new toy you give your children to play with. Their mind immediately pays attention to the new exciting toy forgetting about the old one. The same thing happens with our brain. It forgets about your talkative colleague helping you get some work done.
Sometimes, when you work on something repetitive or boring, time seems to dilate, making you feel like an entire era has passed, when in fact very little time has gone by. Music helps you by making your perception of time more accurate. From now on, you can match your type of work with the right type of music in your headphones and watch your results considerably improve.
While there are many pros to music at work, there are also some guidelines to follow if you want to maximize your results:
You don’t have to turn the volume up to 11
The perfect level to listen to music is 70 dB. Everything over this number reduces your concentration, the amount of information and also blocks creativity. Researchers say that it’s better to listen to your iPhone or iPod at about 70 percent of its maximum volume.
Listen to music with 60 beats per minute
Whenever you feel “on the edge” at work, put on a song that has 60 beats per minute because it releases your stress level. Current findings show that music around 60 beats per minute makes the brain to synchronize with the beat causing alpha brainwaves, which are present when we feel relaxed and conscious.
Play music in Major Key
It seems like this one is mostly a cultural thing. While in Africa Minor Key makes people feel joyful, in other parts of the world it’s perceived as sad. Ancient Greeks said that each key is an emotion and their perception of the Major Key as happy and positive influenced us thousands of years later.
Since this is an article about music, we can’t talk about our new estimation tool, Specstimate (it helps agencies keep track of budget estimates by making the estimation process easier, more realistic and accurate.)
But what we can do instead is woo you with some music for your office. Whether you won a client, lost one or you simply can’t stand your boss anymore, we have playlists that can fit your every mood. Check them out and spread them around :)