As the modern workplace diverges more from the cubicle-filled office space of the past, employers are having to make increasingly interesting and previously unimagined choices about what they want their business’s office environment to look, feel, and even sound like. For example, whether or not to play music in the workplace is a hotly debated topic at the moment and many small business owners are split on the subject.
It’s a tough call to make, but there’s a good chance, especially if you’re focused on attracting younger talent, that this is a decision you’ll have to face eventually. Here’s what you should consider as you venture to make a decision about music and boosting productivity in the workplace.
As Inc. reported last year, “Terese Lesiuk, an assistant professor in the music therapy program at the University of Miami, does research on the effect of music listening on work performance. According to Dr. Lesiuk’s research, those who listened to music completed their tasks more quickly and had better ideas overall than those who didn’t.”
Some people simply prefer the hustle and bustle of background noise. Some people are motivated by music, especially music which is upbeat and inspiring. It’s not hard to see how listening to the right music can lead to more productive employees on the whole.
However, the operative word there is overall—her research doesn’t mean that music is what works for absolutely everyone. For some people, listening to music is not only distracting but actively hurts reading comprehension and information processing.
Surely you know someone who has to work in complete silence to get anything done, someone who finds even the quietest of coffee shops or coworking spaces too noisy to concentrate. Imagine how tough it would be for them to get their work done if music was playing in their office all day long? For these people, working and listening to music with words is a form of multi-tasking, taking up precious real estate in their limited ability to juggle multiple tasks with the sound of music rather than a work-related output.
There are several factors to consider before introducing music into the workplace. First, will it be in every part of the office or just certain spots, perhaps in common gathering areas and not in meeting rooms?
Next, think about what kind of music you’ll play, namely whether or not the music you play in the office will have words or not and whether it will be easy-listening like jazz or more popular and perhaps motivating like pop music.
It really all comes down to your specific office and your unique employees. If most of your employees are already listening to music on their headphones, then perhaps survey them on what they’d like to hear in the office.