We’ve all heard the routine 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 modification of background sound? Can boosting work productivity really be as simple as playing certain types of sounds or music?
It turns out that both nature sounds and music have been found to have beneficial effects on the job.
Let’s start with nature sounds.
The Acoustical Society of America presented findings indicating 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 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 afforded a similar masking effect.
Here’s a playlist of peaceful nature sounds for you to experiment with yourself.
If nature sounds are not your thing, research from the University of Windsor shows that listening to music can have comparable positive impacts on work productivity.
They found that listening to music in the workplace boosts mood and minimizes anxiety, which brings about an emotional state conducive to elevated creative problem solving.
Participants that listened to music recorded better moods, created 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 believe the effect is more widespread.
What type of music was found to have the largest impact? It turns out that the genre is less relevant than the positive emotional response it evokes in the listener.
That means the difference between classical music and hard rock is trivial as long as the music improves your mood.
Did you know that a variety of hearing aid models enable 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.