We’ve all heard the traditional advice on boosting productivity at work: don’t multi-task, limit interruptions, say no to meetings, set self-imposed deadlines, etc.
But what about the manipulation of background sound? Can increasing work productivity really be as simple as playing certain types of music or sounds?
It turns out that both nature sounds and music have been found to have favorable effects in the workplace.
Let’s begin with nature sounds.
The Acoustical Society of America presented findings demonstrating that employees can get more done and feel more optimistic at work when nature sounds are playing in the background.
The study consisted of three sessions in the same room, where researchers had participants complete tests while listening to varied soundscapes. Each session had a unique type of sound playing in the background, as follows:
- First session: office sounds muffled by white noise
- Second session: office sounds muffled by nature sounds
- Third session: office sounds with no masking noise
The final results? The workers performed better on the tests when listening to nature sounds and also felt more positive about the setting and the task.
The nature sounds were also much preferred over the white noise even though white noise offered a comparable masking effect.
Here’s a playlist of peaceful nature sounds for you to test out yourself.
If nature sounds are not your thing, research from the University of Windsor demonstrates that listening to music can have comparable positive impacts on work productivity.
They found that listening to music in the workplace improves mood and lowers anxiety, which produces an emotional state conducive to enhanced creative problem solving.
Participants that listened to music documented better moods, created higher quality work, and invested less time on each task.
Granted, the study was limited to information technology professionals, but there’s reason to believe the effect is more prevalent.
What type of music was revealed to have the largest effect? It turns out that the genre is less important than the positive emotional response it evokes in the listener.
Which means the difference between classical music and heavy metal is insignificant as long as the music improves your mood.
Did you know that several hearing aid models allow you to stream music straight to the hearing aids from your smartphone or music player?
If you have hearing loss, or are thinking about an upgrade, ask us about the latest technology you could use to start enhancing productivity at work.