We’ve all been told the routine advice on elevating productivity on the job: don’t multi-task, minimize 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 certain types of music or sounds?
It turns out that both music and nature sounds have been found to have positive effects on the job.
Let’s begin with nature sounds.
The Acoustical Society of America presented findings indicating that employees 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 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 final results? The staff performed better on the tests when listening to nature sounds and also felt more positive about the setting and the task.
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 relaxing nature sounds for you to test out yourself.
If you’re not into nature sounds, 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 at work improves mood and decreases anxiety, which creates an emotional state conducive to enhanced creative problem solving.
Participants that listened to music recorded better moods, created higher quality work, and invested less time on each task.
Granted, the study was restricted to information technology professionals, but there’s 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 important 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 permit you to stream music directly to the hearing aids from your phone or mp3 player?
If you have hearing loss, or are contemplating an upgrade, ask us about the latest technology you could use to start enhancing productivity at work.