Listening to music while in office can be a great stress reliever and may also help in boosting performance. Now, scientists have explained what music does to your brain and how you could benefit from it in the workplace.
Their findings elaborate on the type of activity that can benefit from listening to music.
In the case of an activity that requires learning, listening to music may not be beneficial. This is based on the simple logic that activities such as learning involve analysis and remembering of factual data. In the presence of music, the brain is overloaded with auditory data on top of instructional or factual data. This may make it difficult for the brain to interpret instructions correctly, such as missing out on important information. Therefore it is preferable to turn off your music while doing a learning based activity, especially if the music has lyrics.
Working in noisy environments makes the brain handle all the individual pieces of data in the noise, the processing of which consumes energy. It also increases the levels of cortisol-a stress-hormone. Thus, productivity can go down, even if it does not require you to learn. In such noisy environments, listening to music can actually help by blocking out other unnecessary auditory input and decreases stress levels.
The best situation to listen to music while working is while doing tasks that were repetitive. Studies have indicated that listening to music while working on repetitive tasks made people perform the tasks faster and with fewer errors. The secretion of feel-good hormones like serotonin in response to the music you like helps you relax and feel happy and therefore focus better. This is also suitable while performing complex tasks such as surgery wherein surgeons often listen to music in the operating room because it relieves stress.
Not surprisingly, listening to music that is new while doing work is not very beneficial. The reason behind this is evident that the brain shows more interest in something ‘new’ and this would take precedence than the task you are doing, thereby compromising on the focus.
Although listening to music while performing certain activities is highly beneficial, it is important to keep in mind the nature of the activity as well as the type of music.