We’ve all heard the conventional advice on improving productivity on the job: don’t multi-task, limit interruptions, say no to meetings, specify self-imposed deadlines, etc.
But what about the manipulation of environmental sound? Can increasing work productivity really be as simple as playing particular types of sounds or music?
It turns out that both nature sounds and music have been found to have positive effects on the job.
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 varied 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 results? The employees 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 much preferred over the white noise even though white noise supplied a similar 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 demonstrates that listening to music can have similar beneficial effects on work productivity.
They discovered that listening to music on the job boosts mood and minimizes stress and 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 invested less time on each task.
Granted, the study was limited to information technology professionals, but there’s reason to believe the effect is more prevalent.
What kind of music was found to have the largest effect? It turns out that the category is less important than the positive emotional reaction it evokes in the listener.
That means the difference between classical music and hard rock is insignificant as long as the music enhances your mood.
Did you know that a variety of hearing aid models enable 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 boosting productivity at work.