This Is the Kind of Music You Should Listen to at Work

Listening to music at work increases accuracy and speed, a new study has   found. The genre you should choose, from classical music to dance beats,   depends on what your work involves

What music do you listen to at work?
They say that listening to Mozart makes a person smarter, but a new study   shows that it’s not only classical music that boosts mental activity.

Nine out of 10 workers perform better when   listening to music, according to a new study that found 88pc of   participants produced their most accurate test results and 81pc completed   their fastest work when music was playing.

“The take-home message is that music is a very powerful management tool if you   want to increase not only the efficiency of your workforce but also their   mental state, their emotional state – they’re going to become more positive   about the work,” said Dr David Lewis, a neuropsychologist and chairman of   Mindlab International, the company that conducted the research.

For the experiment, 26 participants were given a series of different tasks   five days in a row – including spell-checking, equation solving,   mathematical word problems, data entry and abstract reasoning. The workers   completed these tasks while listening   to one of four music genres or no music at all, to see which had the   greater effect on accuracy and speed of correct responses.

The study, which was conducted in September by Mindlab International on behalf   of MusicWorks, the joint campaign from music licensing companies PRS for   Music and PPL, found that participants made the most mistakes when not   listening to any music at all.

“Music is a key tool for business success,” said Christine Geissmar,   operations director at PPL.

Here’s what you should listen to at work.

Classical music: if your work involves numbers or attention to detail

Workers were better at solving mathematical problems when listening to   classical music, which improved accuracy by 12pc compared to listening to no   music at all. Classical music was also the second best genre for general   accuracy and spell-checking, the study found.

Pop music: if your work involves data entry or working to deadlines

Participants listening to pop music completed data entry tasks 58pc faster   than when listening to no music at all. Pop was also found to be the best   music genre for spell-checking quickly, and, alongside dance music, produced   the fastest overall performance for getting work done. It cut mistakes by   14pc, compared to not listening to music.

Ambient music: if your work involves solving equations

Famously described by the musician Brian Eno as needing to be “as ignorable as   it is interesting”, ambient music led to the highest level of accuracy for   respondents completing tasks involving equations.

Dance music: if your work involves proof-reading and problem solving

This genre resulted in the highest overall accuracy and fastest performance   across a range of work tasks. Participants listening to dance music produced   more accurate results in spell-checking, solving equations and tackling   tricky mathematical word problems, increased proof-reading speed by 20pc and   and were able to complete abstract reasoning tasks more quickly.

So next time you see your headphone-clad colleague nodding in time to a dance   beat, don’t judge: they’re probably working better than you are.

What music do you listen to at work?

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