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We’ve all been told the typical advice on maximizing productivity at work: don’t multi-task, minimize interruptions, say no to meetings, set self-imposed deadlines, etc.

But what about the modification of environmental sound? Can boosting work productivity really be as straightforward as playing particular types of sounds or music?

It turns out that both nature sounds and music have been found to have advantageous effects at work.

Let’s start with nature sounds.

Nature Sounds

The Acoustical Society of America presented findings showing that employees can get more done and feel more positive at work when nature sounds are playing in the background.

The study consisted of three sessions in the same room, where researchers had participants complete tests while listening to a variety of soundscapes. Each session had a unique type of sound playing in the background, as follows:

  • First session: office sounds muffled by white noise
  • Second session: office sounds muffled by nature sounds
  • Third session: office sounds with no masking noise

The final results? The staff members performed better on the tests when listening to nature sounds and also felt more optimistic about the environment and the task.

The nature sounds were also much preferred over the white noise even though white noise supplied an equivalent masking effect.

Here’s a playlist of soothing nature sounds for you to experiment with yourself.

Music

If nature sounds are not your thing, research from the University of Windsor shows that listening to music can have comparable positive impacts on work productivity.

They discovered that listening to music in the workplace boosts mood and decreases anxiety, which brings about an emotional state conducive to elevated creative problem solving.

Participants that listened to music documented better moods, produced higher quality work, and devoted less time on each task.

Granted, the study was confined to information technology specialists, but there’s good reason to think the effect is more widespread.

What style of music was revealed to have the largest effect? It turns out that the category is less relevant than the positive emotional response it evokes in the listener.

Which means the difference between classical music and hard rock is insignificant as long as the music improves your mood.


Did you know that a variety of hearing aid models allow you to stream music directly to the hearing aids from your phone or mp3 player?

If you have hearing loss, or are considering an upgrade, ask us about the latest technology you could use to start enhancing productivity at work.