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The Surprising Benefits of Music in the Office

Whether it is on your headphones or on the office radio, it is common practice for places of work to play music during the work day, but what are the actual benefits behind this?

Mood boosting

Well, music can have different effects on our mood and general wellbeing, depending on the genre being listened to. It is often referred to as having both positive and negative effects on those that suffer from depression. This is described by the website Live For Live Music; “Interestingly, while classical and relaxing music increased positive moods, techno and heavy metal brought people down even more.” Therefore, it is likely that in the workplace it can have positive, stress-relieving effects on yourself and colleagues, as well as potentially helping relieve the symptoms of depression.

Reduces stress and anxiety

Calming music, such as classical, is beneficial for those who suffer from anxiety as well as depression. Anxiety can cause similar symptoms as stress, including a faster heart rate, tense muscles and digestive problems. Calming music can help anxiety by regulating the heartbeat using slow tempo and gradual chord progressions.

It is also true that “music releases dopamine, the feel-good chemical in your brain” (Mind, 2011). Dopamine has been recently linked to anxiety, as described by CalmClinic; “there is evidence that improving dopamine levels will reduce social anxiety, and possibly other anxiety disorders.” Musical therapies are evidence of the positive effects that music has on the mind, as these types of therapies are much more common than they once were, and help those with mental health issues and learning difficulties.

Fond memories

Music can also evoke memories, which can induce feelings of happiness and nostalgia. In a diverse, open-planned, workplace environment, pop music playing softly in the background can actually create a sense of fun and light-heartedness, as many colleagues will remember pop songs from years or even decades ago. Memorable pop songs will make us feel good as they typically come from particularly exciting or meaningful parts of our lives. This could even invite friendly and fun office discussion about that particular song, which builds on working relationships.

Increased productivity

Upbeat music is regularly used by athletes and body-builders to help stimulate and motivate them during their workouts. Many people use this very tactic when hitting the gym or going for a run – the upbeat music “distracts you from your discomfort and motivates you to stay with the beat” (Reader’s Digest, 2018). This can be relatable in the work environment too, as an uplifting and repetitive rhythm can help employees complete tasks that may seem boring or arduous at the time. This increased productivity coincides with the commonly known and practiced benefits music has on children, as many studies have shown that classical music assists brain development in the early years.

It’s easy to see why music is a universal source of joy and entertainment, when looking at how it can have such an impact on somebody’s health and wellbeing. These positive effects are brought into sharp focus when in the working environment - from productivity to happier moods, music can create an atmosphere that makes daily life a little bit more enjoyable.