Music has a way of affecting many of us emotionally, it’s a way to express our love, our sadness, our anger.
It has been used to announce a charge to war, motivating soldiers going into battle. It’s used in shopping centres, said to increase the likelihood of purchase. And many people use it to help their babies and children get to sleep.
In fact, I wrote my University dissertation listening to the Spongebob Squarepants soundtrack, and let me tell you, it made writing about how children adopt racism as they grow up much less depressing, and a whole lot less stressful.
In business, many of us use music as a way to stay motivated and engaged, it can keep us on track and focused during a repetitive task, or drown out a busy office space. Music with lyrics has been said to awaken our creativity, great if you work in design. Whilst music with extreme high and low notes can help us feel energised. There’s no doubt the right music has a great effect on our emotions.
But what happens if it’s the wrong music? What if we charged to war to the Spongebob Squarepants soundtrack, after all, it helped me write my dissertation? And what if we sounded the trumpets of war to shopping customers (sometimes it feels during a sale that someone may have), or perhaps to help our children sleep?
Some studies claim that music with lyrics can be destructive to those in creative writing jobs. Whilst extreme high and low tones can reduce creativity during design-based tasks.
Recently, I discovered despite having a deep love for country music, it is not ‘music to work to’. In fact, it’s downright distracting. One guy I work with listens to white noise to keep him focused, while one woman can’t stand any music. For some, classical music acts as a stressor, rather than a calming influence, like it is for others.
Although music can indeed be a motivator, it seems it can also demotivate and distract too, if it’s not right. Music does have an effect on our emotions, and as such its impact on people will differ. This is important to remember when considering your music at work policy.
It might well be that enforcing a one-size fits all policy is not appropriate. Banning music could have a detrimental impact on the well-being and focus of some employees, whilst allowing music aloud could have the same effect on others. It’s worth letting your employees chose headphones, but encourage them to pay attention to the effect it has on their work, to ensure the music they chose to play is the right music.