We’ve all been told the typical advice on increasing productivity on the job: don’t multi-task, limit interruptions, say no to meetings, set self-imposed deadlines, etc.
But what about the manipulation of environmental sound? Can increasing work productivity really be as straightforward as playing targeted types of music or sounds?
It turns out that both nature sounds and music have been found to have favorable effects at work.
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 various 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 environment and the task.
The nature sounds were also greatly preferred over the white noise even though white noise afforded an equivalent masking effect.
Here’s a playlist of soothing nature sounds for you to experiment with yourself.
If nature sounds are not your thing, research from the University of Windsor establishes that listening to music can have similar beneficial impacts on work productivity.
They discovered that listening to music in the workplace boosts mood and lessens stress and anxiety, which brings about an emotional state conducive to elevated creative problem solving.
Participants that listened to music described better moods, created higher quality work, and devoted less time on each task.
Granted, the study was limited to information technology specialists, but there’s reason to think the effect is more prevalent.
What type of music was revealed to have the greatest effect? It turns out that the genre is less significant than the positive emotional response it evokes in the listener.
That means the difference between classical music and heavy metal is insignificant as long as the music enhances 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 considering an upgrade, ask us about the latest technology you could use to start maximizing productivity at work.