We’ve all been told the traditional advice on elevating productivity at work: don’t multi-task, minimize interruptions, say no to meetings, specify self-imposed deadlines, etc.
But what about the modification of environmental sound? Can improving work productivity really be as straightforward as playing certain types of music or sounds?
It turns out that both nature sounds and music have been found to have advantageous effects in the workplace.
Let’s begin with nature sounds.
The Acoustical Society of America presented findings showing 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 various soundscapes. Each session had a different 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 staff members performed better on the tests when listening to nature sounds and also felt more optimistic about the setting and the task.
The nature sounds were also much preferred over the white noise even though white noise granted a similar 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 discovered that listening to music in the workplace boosts mood and lessens anxiety, which creates an emotional state conducive to enhanced creative problem solving.
Participants that listened to music recorded 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 reason to believe the effect is more widespread.
What type of music was revealed to have the greatest impact? It turns out that the category is less important than the positive emotional reaction it evokes in the listener.
Which means the difference between classical music and hard rock is trivial as long as the music enhances your mood.
Did you know that many hearing aid models permit you to stream music straight to the hearing aids from your smartphone or mp3 player?
If you have hearing loss, or are considering an upgrade, ask us about the latest technology you could use to start boosting productivity at work.