Music in The Workplace: Helpful or a Hindrance?

11th May 2018
Music in The Workplace: Helpful or a Hindrance? | Zero Above News

Gangster rap or grime? Cheesy pop or classical? Whatever your jam, research has found that 61% of employees listen to music at work to make them happier and increase productivity. However, some argue that music in the workplace is a distraction and detrimental to productivity. Therefore, we pose the question, is music a help or hindrance in the office?


Evidence proves that music has a positive impact on mental alertness – research from neuropsychologists at Mindlab International found that nine out of ten workers produced more accurate test results when listening to music compared with silence.

Music releases dopamine in the reward center of the brain which can help to improve your focus meaning 90% of workers perform better when listening to music. According to research 88% of employees produce more accurate work when listening to music.


Ever been forced to listen to music you despise? Christmas songs on loop? Research suggests that listening to genres that irritate you or that you don’t enjoy hinders your productivity and makes it harder for you to concentrate on the task at hand.

If your work requires linguistic processing (say you’re a content writer or novelist) then music with lyrics can interfere with your mental processes. The same applies when you’re trying to learn something new or working on something that needs your full attention.

Here’s what our team thinks:

Olivia: “Music is important to me and not just in the workplace. I find it difficult to work in complete silence so prefer to have a Spotify playlist on in the background. Occasionally, when my attention is waning or I have a particularly difficult task at hand I pop in my headphones and drown out the background noise to help me concentrate.”

Harry: “When I’m doing work for longer periods of time and don’t need to talk to anybody i.e digital reports I prefer my own music – normally opt for J Cole’s album Forest Hills Drive. This helps with productivity in most cases. Day to day though, it’s nice to talk to everyone and have a bit of a giggle throughout the day so I wouldn’t want to have headphones on and whatever playlist is selected in the morning should suffice… but in all cases, I think music is beneficial!”

Dan: “I definitely prefer music without lyrics, as I find that they can be distracting, particularly when writing. If I’m doing a repetitive task, then something with a beat like house/techno is really good as it helps me focus. Classical or soundtrack music is good for concentration as well – something quite relaxed. I don’t like to listen to anything too heavy for long periods of time e.g. Drum and Bass or Metal, as it tires out my brain faster.”

What are your thoughts on listening to music at work? Tweet us @zeroabove

Olivia Powling

Digital Marketing Executive

Olivia is a member of our digital team. She assists the digital team by executing SEO, SEM and social strategies and creates and deploys fresh content.