"Whether or not we realize it on a conscious level, music is a
universal language. It’s as old as time, it communicates what words
alone cannot, and it speaks to each and every one of us in a deeply
personal way." continues Forbes.
The tragedy of music, then, is how often it’s used casually – as background noise, as something to fill a few empty hours, or simply because we can’t abide silence. However, research on the subject of music may have revealed it to be something pretty surprising: a productivity tool.
There’s a good chance you come across so-called “productivity hacks” on a regular basis. Some of them are genuinely helpful, while others seem to require more effort than they may save.
The productivity trick I’m about to share with you is, in a word, complicated. It carries the usual “your mileage may vary” disclaimer, as well as several caveats.
Despite all these ifs ands and buts, I’m here to advocate the use of music in the workplace. After you’ve dug through the available and (in some cases) contradictory research, I feel that what you’re left with is something that offers many more advantages than disadvantages.
What does the data say?
Studies conducted as far back as the early 70’s found that music can have a positive impact on workers. One such study, conducted in 1972, discovered that factory employees did their best work when they were allowed to listen to happy or upbeat music.
To be sure: music isn’t some magical panacea. It still does make demands of us in turn. For instance, listening to music while working constitutes multitasking, which necessarily decreases our ability to closely focus on any single objective. Depending on who you ask, this may actually be a good thing; a 2012 study conducted by the Chinese University of Hong Kong found that those who favor multitasking may be better at absorbing and integrating information from several senses at once. But it may not work for everyone.