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Pop in your ear buds and let the music work its magic

By Robert Augustine, Phone2Action Fellow 

Canadian researchers have found that listening to music at work increases work efficiency and productivity

Have you ever wanted to enjoy your favorite tunes during the work day? If your life has been anything like mine then you’re probably out of luck. The majority of employers aren’t open to the idea of “one earbud in, and one out” during work hours. In theory, it makes sense. You’re at the office to work and to assist your organization in accomplishing its goals. To someone that hasn’t put any time into researching the validity of music in the workplace, it may come off as a distraction. I’m here to tell you that this isn’t the case, it’s actually quite the opposite.

In the last 15 years, research facilities across the globe have put millions of dollars into research on the cognitive effects of music in mammalian brains. What researchers have found is astonishing, to say the least. In terms of bonafide musicianship, playing an instrument increases brain activity and the interconnectedness between different regions of the brain. Scientists were able to come to this conclusion after studying Functional MRIs of musicians playing their respective instruments.

It turns out that great musicians have higher IQs and better long­-term memories because of their dedication to their art. But what does that mean for the average music consumer? Does listening to music while doing a work project have a similar effect? The simple answer is, yes, indeed it does. While listening to music won’t necessarily give you a noticeable IQ boost, it’ll definitely help with productivity.

Scientists at the University of Windsor found that music actually increases work performance. Their study measured the effect of music listening on state positive affect, work quality and time-on-task of computer information system developers. The results indicated that state positive affect and quality-of-work were lowest with no music, and time-on-task was longest when music was removed. On a fundamental level, all this means is that once music is removed people are both less efficient and less likely to produce higher quality work.

I’m currently working a summer fellowship at Phone2Action. Our office environment and culture provides a great space to listen to music during work without worrying about what my bosses may think. In fact, I’ve bonded with my supervisors and co­workers over music quite a bit. It’s such a huge part of my life and it’s so great to see my colleagues showing their support and appreciation for what I love.

Here I am working from the office patio, no one around, earbud free.

All of this information and research just goes to show that music in the workplace is beneficial and improves the quality and efficiency of employees. For this reason, I’ve created a Call to Action (via the Phone2Action platform) that advocates for music as a staple of the workplace. So take a stand. Let’s create a movement that supports and encourages creativity and efficiency with music at work. You’ll not only be part of a fun movement, but you’ll also help illuminate my advocacy and campaign skills to my boss.

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