We’ve all been told the typical advice on boosting productivity on the job: don’t multi-task, minimize interruptions, say no to meetings, set self-imposed deadlines, etc.
But what about the manipulation of background sound? Can improving work productivity really be as simple as playing targeted types of sounds or music?
It turns out that both music and nature sounds have been found to have advantageous 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 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 optimistic about the setting and the job.
The nature sounds were also much preferred over the white noise even though white noise delivered a comparable masking effect.
Here’s a playlist of tranquil nature sounds for you to experiment with yourself.
If you’re not into nature sounds, research from the University of Windsor shows that listening to music can have similar beneficial effects on work productivity.
They found that listening to music on the job boosts mood and minimizes anxiety, which brings about an emotional state conducive to enhanced creative problem solving.
Participants that listened to music reported better moods, produced higher quality work, and devoted less time on each task.
Granted, the study was limited to information technology specialists, but there’s reason to believe the effect is more prevalent.
What kind of music was revealed to have the greatest impact? It turns out that the genre is less relevant than the positive emotional response it evokes in the listener.
Which means the difference between classical music and hard rock is insignificant as long as the music improves your mood.
Did you know that many hearing aid models permit you to stream music directly to the hearing aids from your smartphone 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 maximizing productivity at work.