Music Works for Work

Who listens to music at work? Nowadays, who doesn’t? Some people prefer stark silence and fluorescent-light buzz to Spotify top 40 playlists, but most coworking spaces, coffee shops, and other startup-saturated workplaces choose to play music over the huddled masses in one form or another. If you can’t hear the music out loud, observe the endless rows of headphones – a developer’s best friend. While there are tasks and meetings that demand clear airwaves, scientific studies show that many workday jobs and projects are better tackled with a tune.


Here’s a brief guide to musical benefits in your workday:

Press Play

Not all music is created equal. In the same way music caters to different parts of life, it boosts or breaks different types of work. A 2016 study found a variety of different working benefits specific to different music genres. For example, if you’re working on data entry or striving towards a deadline, pop music is your friend. According to the study, subjects entering data completed their tasks 58% faster when listening to pop than when listening to nothing. If your work, however, includes solving equations, try Aphex Twin or Brian Eno. Ambient music like theirs proved most beneficial to study participants focusing on that field.

Perhaps the most commonly recognized melodic assistant, classical music works similarly to ambient music. The study found that in work involving numbers or attention to detail, classical music boosted performance accuracy by 12%. But perhaps the most shocking of all, dance music shows tangible workplace benefits. According to the study, dance music increased proofreading speed by 20%, but also produced more accurate work in mathematical word problems and equations, as well as spell-checking. Need an extra boost at the office? Now you can dance the day away too.

Shuffle Your Sound

Mundane tasks, rainy windows or two o’clock yawns can dull anybody’s day. When midday melancholy gets in the way of productivity, look to music as a fix. Pausing to play a favorite song or motivational anthem has the ability to turn the entire day around. If you’re looking for an even bigger dopamine surge, don’t tell your brain what’s coming next. The body produces the neurotransmitter dopamine as a response to positive stimuli, and it produces even more when pleasantly surprised. If you’re having a rough go of it at the office, use the shuffle function on iTunes, Pandora, Soundcloud, or Spotify, to send your day back in the right direction.

Whether breaking the monotony, breaking afternoon drowsiness, or breaking through a tricky problem, music works for work. Call it another tool in your entrepreneurial belt. When thrown on at random, music can distract and deter. When used intentionally, music can motivate and produce positive results. Make a habit of mixing music into your work day and the results will speak for themselves.

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