We’ve all heard the conventional advice on raising productivity on the job: don’t multi-task, limit interruptions, say no to meetings, establish self-imposed deadlines, etc.
But what about the modification of background sound? Can boosting work productivity really be as simple as playing particular types of sounds or music?
It turns out that both music and nature sounds have been found to have favorable effects on the job.
Let’s begin with nature sounds.
The Acoustical Society of America presented findings demonstrating that workers 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 different 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 a comparable masking effect.
Here’s a playlist of tranquil nature sounds for you to try out yourself.
If nature sounds are not your thing, research from the University of Windsor establishes that listening to music can have comparable positive effects on work productivity.
They found that listening to music at work improves mood and decreases anxiety, which creates an emotional state conducive to elevated creative problem solving.
Participants that listened to music recorded better moods, produced higher quality work, and invested less time on each task.
Granted, the study was confined to information technology specialists, but there’s reason to believe the effect is more prevalent.
What kind of music was found to have the greatest impact? It turns out that the category is less relevant than the positive emotional response it evokes in the listener.
That means the difference between classical music and heavy metal is unimportant as long as the music improves your mood.
Did you know that a variety of hearing aid models allow you to stream music directly to the hearing aids from your phone 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 maximizing productivity at work.