To those about to work, I salute you!

Posted on June 19, 2012

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So, fresh research out today from PPL and PRS suggests that music at work increases productivity. Personally I love this, but isn’t that half the problem? I’m in the mood for a bit of Led Zeppelin right now, but I’ve got a feeling that Sally sat next to me might balk at this and switch to a bit of Roxy Music; Kev behind me, I think he’d rather we had a bit of African beat; and as for Sarah a couple of rows away, I think she’d like Cat Stevens. I know this for a fact as I’ve just asked them.

So, are these choices just about music taste or state of mind? I’m in free flow writing; Sal is preparing a deck of slides for a pitch and Kev is finishing off a proposal; and Sarah has her mind mired in complex tenders. Is a bit of Cat Stevens what you need to navigate tenders? Is Roxy Music the come down you need when finishing off slides? Will African music give you the inspiration you need to kick off a proposal. My goodness, what might happen if you were listening to the wrong music!

The one response I didn’t get when I asked was “no no no, lets have silence.” Maybe this adds credence to the belief that music does add value at work. But perhaps the music is dependent on the community you sit in? After all, can music destroy productivity? According to some research, heavy metal music kills plants. Equally, classical music makes them grow. And on and on it goes.

But the trend is towards support for music. Music therapy has been used for many decades to stimulate responses in patients. It promotes wellness; helps people manage stress; can alleviate pain; helps people express feelings, enhance their memory or improve their communication. It can even promote physical rehabilitation.

All in all, there is a place for music. Surely it is time to turn up the volume and let the good work roll. That said, multi-tasking is undoubtedly a risk to productivity. Take a look at this humorous video that brings it sharply home – don’t drive and multi task. Yet music is purposeful distraction. Well planned, it works.

So, to those about to work, I salute you!

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