Music in the Workplace

Music in the Workplace

For many people music can help them concentrate and keep them focused on a specific task this applies to studying, working out and many other tasks, however sometimes we ask ourselves, does it really helps with work or is it just a distraction to make something tedious and boring a little less heavy?

It is known that music has strong effects on our state of mind, change our mood and helps the brain release dopamine which makes us happy, but does that really mean we can be more efficient while listening to music? not necessarily, at least not for everyone.

Even though it may not work out for everyone, there is good reason to believe that it can boost productivity while working.

There are a few things to consider when trying to listen to music to concentrate while working.

No Lyrics

Music with no lyrics tend to be a better choice when trying to focus on a task, so anything from classical orchestral music to electronic dance music are definitely a good choice.


This may be a bit obvious but when using headphones to listen to music, there is a sort of bubble that isolates the listener from other distracting sounds, this makes it so that the person listening to music, is willingly choosing what to hear while blocking other sounds. The result is that it’s easier to concentrate due to being in control of one of the most distracting factors when trying to concentrate which is unwanted sounds.

Music That You Know

Working with music that is very familiar also helps to concentrate. According to neuroscientists, after recent studies: “The regions of our brain that improve concentration are more active when we listen to music we’ve heard before”.

According to Karen Landay, a former professional violinist and graduate student at the University of Alabama:

Historically, music and work have always been intertwined. Think about romantic visions of peasants singing as they harvest, or sea chanteys sung by sailors as they work on their ships. And since most people enjoy listening to music of some kind in at least some contexts, it’s perfectly natural to feel that music must have some sort of positive impact on our work.

In an article from the BBC, there is a great example of working with music:

Michael Vettraino, who founded the London-based music consultancy MAV music, says the company has helped to introduce background music to several offices. While their main focus is on providing bespoke playlists for restaurants, casinos and hotels, recently they have branched out into supplying offices, many of which are introducing music for the first time.

 “Our clients have told us that it’s increased their productivity when they’ve had the right music playing in the office, in terms of staff motivation,” says Alex Hill, who works as MAV’s head of music and operations. They are always careful to factor in the demographics of their audience – their age, etc. – and fit the music to how they’re likely to be feeling at different times of day.

“When you’re concentrating you’ll want calmer, more relaxing music and at the end of the day when you’re feeling tired, you’ll want something more upbeat. We know that a graphic design agency in Shoreditch is going to want very different music to a high street bank Gloucester. But if you get it right, it should hopefully help people to work harder.”

Of course one thing to bear in mind is that there are many factors that make all of this a bit subjective, this means that it’s not something that comes with a set of rules and then it will definitely work, it’s more like something each person has to try and find out how it can work for them depending on the job, the place and the music. It can also happen that after trying to concentrate with music, a person can find that it just doesn’t work, and that’s ok.

In the end, music in the workplace is not for everyone, but it is a interesting aspect of music that is worth trying out.

Arturo Riera
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