Since the start of the pandemic, over 11.2 million jobs have been furloughed. Moreover, the proportion of people working from home more than doubled in 2020. However, retail and hospitality spaces have opened their doors once more while offices are buzzing again. But after months off or remote working, many employees may need help getting back into the swing of things, and music could be the answer.
The experts at music licensing company PPL PRS explain how playing music in the workplace could boost wellbeing, morale and productivity.
Music may positively influence your mood and physical wellness
It has been shown that music can have a massive effect on emotions, and that’s one of the reasons why composers add music to films; they want you to feel sad, happy, angry or scared at exactly the right time.
Research shows happy, upbeat music causes our brains to produce chemicals like dopamine and serotonin, which evokes feelings of joy, whereas calming music soothes the mind and the body.
The study also showed though, that whilst music can influence our mood, our mood can also influence the music that we choose to listen to — that really explains Adele’s success with writing fantastically powerful break-up songs. According to the British Association for Music Therapy, music can really help those with psychological, cognitive, or communicative needs.
Music also helps keep your cardiovascular system in tune. Listening to or performing music can have an effect on your heartbeat, either speeding it up if there’s a higher bpm on the track, or slowing it down when you hear more relaxing beats.
One study suggests that being in a better mood could give your concentration a boost, enabling you to get on with more work during the day.
Music may boost your productivity
Everybody strives to be their most productive at work. Whether you spend your working day in an office, a shop, or a café, being able to maintain your focus at important times is crucial to success. A study found that productivity is improved when staff listen to music whilst working.
- Play repetitive songs. If your role involves lots of autonomous, repetitive tasks, music can really lighten what might be seen as a long day ahead. Having upbeat music that fits in with the pace of the repetitive tasks can make it more fun – the BBC’s famous ‘Music While You Work’ radio programmes that debuted in 1940 were in fact designed to help wartime factory workers become more productive by playing uninterrupted popular music.
- Play songs without lyrics. There has been some research which shows that classical music works best for concentration. Why? Well, classical music often does not contain any lyrics, which can act as a distraction if you are trying to immerse yourself into a deep task.
- Play your favourite songs. If you are doing something that requires a little more concentration, there is no need to switch off your favourite tunes. Such songs cause your brain to release dopamine, which improves your mood and reduces stress and anxiety. One study has also suggested that music can have a positive effect on your memory if you enjoy it.
- Play familiar songs. Listening to familiar songs can help you stay focused for longer. That’s because certain regions in the brain that improve concentration are more active when we listen to music that we know, rather than something that’s unfamiliar. So, listening to songs you have heard over and over is a good idea when you really want to get in the zone.
Music may relieve your stress
Music really is one of the best stress busters out there. The soothing power of relaxing music and its close link to our emotions can be a really effective stress management tool, helping us cool down and maybe even take a breather. It can be a great way to distract yourself from a stressful situation, while also clearing the mind before readdressing the issue with a fresh outlook.
Listening to music has the potential to relax our minds as well as our bodies. In fact, research has shown that even heavy metal music can help lower your blood pressure. And with high blood pressure both a cause and symptom of stress, this shows that even the most intense music can help you cope with stress.
It’s not only your blood pressure that listening to music can lower, but also your cortisol levels. Cortisol is the human stress hormone, and the higher it is, the more stressed we feel. Research has found that symphonic music can lower cortisol levels, regardless of the listeners music preferences.
Music may boost team (and customer) morale
If you’re in a private workspace like an office, playing music that everyone can enjoy could really increase the energy in the room and be a driving force throughout the day. Finding a music genre that suits everyone in your office is a great idea. Perhaps it’s worth giving each member of the team access to the music, so they can turn off anything they really don’t like.
If you work in a public space like retail or hospitality, ambient music can have a huge impact on how both your team and your customers feel and behave. It can create an atmosphere that draws people in from outside and can also really convey who you are as a brand, so take time to consider which kind of music works best for your style and the kind of customers you want to attract. The right music could increase customer dwell time, encouraging them to spend more time browsing.
Introducing the radio to your business could also provide an opportunity for your customers to be more engaged, making the whole experience with your business and brand even more enjoyable. It could give your workplace a modern and up-to-date date feel or help break the silence and encourage conversations between your staff and customers.
Listening to music clearly has an overall positive effect. Take a minute to pay attention to the sounds around you – if music doesn’t feature, it could be the missing link.