We’ve all read the conventional advice on enhancing productivity at work: don’t multi-task, minimize interruptions, say no to meetings, set self-imposed deadlines, etc.
But what about the manipulation of background sound? Can improving work productivity really be as straightforward as playing targeted types of music or sounds?
It turns out that both music and nature sounds have been found to have valuable effects on the job.
Let’s begin with nature sounds.
The Acoustical Society of America presented findings indicating that workers can get more done and feel more positive 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 results? The staff members performed better on the tests when listening to nature sounds and also felt more positive about the setting and the job.
The nature sounds were also much preferred over the white noise even though white noise presented an equivalent masking effect.
Here’s a playlist of relaxing nature sounds for you to experiment with yourself.
If nature sounds are not your thing, research from the University of Windsor shows that listening to music can have similar positive impacts on work productivity.
They found that listening to music in the workplace improves mood and minimizes stress and anxiety, which creates an emotional state conducive to enhanced creative problem solving.
Participants that listened to music described better moods, produced higher quality work, and devoted less time on each task.
Granted, the study was restricted to information technology professionals, but there’s good reason to believe the effect is more prevalent.
What kind of music was revealed to have the greatest impact? It turns out that the genre is less relevant than the positive emotional reaction it evokes in the listener.
That means the difference between classical music and heavy metal is insignificant provided that the music enhances your mood.
Did you know that many hearing aid models permit you to stream music directly to the hearing aids from your phone or music player?
If you have hearing loss, or are contemplating an upgrade, ask us about the latest technology you could use to start boosting productivity at work.