Managers are divided on the ‘use’ of music in the workplace – is it a helpful tool to motivate and engage your staff, or is it the ultimate distraction?
At Blackswan we like to think of ourselves as a creative company, and work in an office where we play music aloud during work hours.
Listening to music has been proven to stimulate productivity and creativity, but this doesn’t mean it’s to everyone’s taste; Some people simply operate better in a quiet environment.
The benefits of having music on in the background are well documented – music has been proven to reduce stress, sustain attention, raise energy levels, stimulate creativity, improve memory, encourage interaction and build community/team spirit.
Research proves that listening to music directly impacts mood, helps create a positive vibe and actually works to increase mental performance, which ultimately impacts the work output and makes otherwise mundane tasks more bearable.
As if that wasn’t enough - listening to music actively inspires the creative side of your brain to work better. In a similar way that playing a musical instrument helps to develop key brain functions, listening to music while working helps develops critical thinking and leadership skills, fosters self-esteem and the ability to work co-operatively in teams, improves cognitive development, and enhances learning.
But it’s not all good. Depending on the work setting, of course, is could be seen as unprofessional to have music constantly playing. Then there are some problems that come with playing music in a work setting. For a start, it’s unlikely you’ll find something that everyone enjoys. There’ll always be one* who favours glitch-hop or Swedish post-hardcore over chart toppers or 80s classics. But how can you keep both parties happy when the two are polar opposites? Answers on a postcard please…
And that’s even before we get into swearing and inappropriate/racist/misogynistic (delete as appropriate) tracks – is there something in place to screen for this? Or does it just have to come down to common sense?
Some people will find music a distraction, rather than having a calming effect it can cause them to sing or hum along and become engrossed in the songs as opposed to the work it’s designed to aid.
If you are able to strike the right balance, music will soothe and calm a tense mind, and like a surgeon in a demanding operating theatre, it can clearly bring about real benefits to individual employees, and ultimately to the company.