We’ve all read the routine advice on elevating productivity at work: don’t multi-task, minimize interruptions, say no to meetings, set self-imposed deadlines, etc.
But what about the modification of background sound? Can increasing work productivity really be as simple as playing targeted types of sounds or music?
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 showing 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 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 workers performed better on the tests when listening to nature sounds and also felt more optimistic about the setting and the job.
The nature sounds were also greatly preferred over the white noise even though white noise supplied an equivalent masking effect.
Here’s a playlist of calming 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 on the job improves mood and decreases 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 spent less time on each task.
Granted, the study was confined to information technology professionals, but there’s good reason to think the effect is more widespread.
What type of music was revealed to have the greatest effect? 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 trivial provided that the music improves your mood.
Did you know that a variety of hearing aid models allow 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 maximizing productivity at work.