Listening to Music at Work - Does it Improve Performance?


Showing up for work without earphones is reason enough to spoil my day. Like many people, music is a huge part of my life and I cannot imagine a day without listening to my favorite jams. Unlike me, other workmates in the office prefer to work without music. Some listen to it only when they are under pressure to beat deadlines or make repetitive jobs easier.

Every employer is in pursuit of highly productive and resourceful staff to be part of their team. After this is achieved there is an extra need to maximize on the productive potential of the team members. Is there a possibility that music is one way to ensuring this? Does it improve efficiency and performance?


What Music Does to Your Brain

Biologically, melodies encourage the release of dopamine in your brain’s reward area. Looking at something attractive, smelling a pleasant scent or eating a delicacy are some of the things that cause the release of dopamine as well. Dr. Amit Sood, integrative medicine’s physician with the Mayo clinic says; “people’s minds tend to wonder and we know that a wandering mind is unhappy. Music can bring us back to the present moment.”

Research on how music affects workplace performance has shown that people who listen to music while working are swift at completing their tasks and coming up with great success ideas than those who don’t. This is because music improves the mood.


Scenarios That Show the Importance of Music at Work

1. Escape in Noisy Environments

As much as music affects people differently, one thing is certain. Noisy workplaces have negative impacts on productivity of everyone. Contrary to the thought pattern of many bosses, music may not be as distracting. Open offices are popular today than a while back which means that constant yapping between employers is almost unavoidable. Having headphones in such a workplace can be what you need to concentrate and focus more on your task.

2. Repetitive Tasks

During an evaluation of the effectiveness of music in increasing productivity at work, one of the key elements to put into consideration is how “immersive” the job at hand is. Working on tasks that do not require creativity and maximum concentration requires music. Writing an essay from scratch or answering Emails demands a lot of focus and creativity hence a quiet environment is preferable. In order to be effective during the performance of tasks which are repetitive in nature, try listening to your favorite playlist today and experience the difference.


Getting it Right

Not all kind of music is good for your performance at your workplace. Some of it is detrimental to your productivity as it totally derails you and causes you to lose focus. Here are a few tips that ensure you make the most of your headphones at work:

• Select a playlist that is already familiar. New music can make you listen in closely consequently causing you to concentrate on the music instead of your work.

• Mellow sounds can get the juices flowing whereas too much noise has the opposite effect. Noisy music can undoubtedly get you energized but when working on tasks at the office, moderate noise levels work best.

• Lyrics are a major cause of distraction because it engages the language center of the brain in turn causing loss of focus.


See also: How Playing an Instrument Can Make You More Intelligent


To all employers; It does not mean that when some of your employees “go to their own world” by listening to music at work, you think of them as less productive and disengaged, this could actually be what they need to be better at what they do.

To all employees; do not shy away from having music playing at the background while you are going on with your tasks. Beware it does not work against your performance though. Because it can!




Developed & managed by DQ Media

CareerAddict and the CareerAddict Logo are registered trademarks of DeltaQuest Media Holding ApS

Credit card payments collected by DELTAQUEST Media (Ireland) Ltd, Company No IE548227, Registered address: The Black Church, St. Mary’s Place, Dublin 7, Ireland

</script> </script>