It seems as though this is a question that is almost as old as the “chicken and the egg” – should you have music at work, or is it a distraction. Although people on both sides of this issue will offer a resounding “yes” or “no”, the real answer is that “it depends”.
Before you can decide what kind of music to use, you have to determine if it’s the right answer for you.
Should You Listen to Music at Work? Ask Yourself These Questions
What Makes You Best?
A big part of whether it’s a good idea to listen to music at work depends on how you work best. Some people need quiet before they can focus, while others need to have something playing in the background. This likely dates all the way back to high school when you discovered how you studied the best, with the radio off or on.
What Kind of Work Are You Doing?
While the fist question is the most significant, an important follow up is to consider what type of work you’re doing. If you are doing very detailed work or something that requires a great deal of concentration, music may not be a great idea for you. However, many studies have proven that playing music when you’re handling boring or repetitive work can be a definite benefit to keep you energized and engaged.
Will it Cause a Distraction?
Sometimes, when you listen to music at work, it can actually be a distraction. This is especially true when you’re listening to the traditional music on the radio because it is full of songs that you have a history with. Certain songs may pull you out of whatever work project you’re working on and take you back in time to where you were when you first heard the song.
Another problem is that when you use radio music at work, it can sometimes make you want to sing along. There may be a few work places where this would be ok, but there are many, many more where this would be a problem. Then it’s not only taking you away from your work, but it’s distracting your co-workers as well.
Do You Need a Distraction?
While listening to music at work can sometimes cause a distraction and take you away from what you are supposed to be working on, other times, it can actually take you away from a distraction. If you work in a place that is full of activity and noise, having headphones on can give you “solid” noise that you can get lost in (in a good way). Music at work can also work to “sound proof” you from the other distractions in the office.
The Best Music for Work
As we’ve indicated, whether or not you should have music at work is not an easy yes/no question. But if you’ve decided that it is in your best interest, it’s important to find the right music. In most cases, ambient music is the best choice.
Since there are no words, there is no danger of causing a distraction with your singing and you’re not likely to get carried away with memories. But having a moderate level of ambient music is likely to help you stay focused and become more productive and creative.
This type of music at work is great when you really need to concentrate because it keeps your brain engaged, but at a low level to allow you to focus on what you’re really supposed to be focusing on.
There are also several different types of ambient music, so you should be able to find something perfect for you. If you don’t want traditional ambient music, you can always listen to sounds of nature or even ambient music inspired by your favorite movie.