“Quiet! Efficiency and concentration are enhanced. The silence you have wished for is possible,” reads a 1932 advertisement of the PSFS building, America’s first modernist skyscraper. Celebrated as a “working machine” for its radical departure from traditional architecture, its T-shaped design allowed for maximum amounts of natural light, rentable space, and sound control. While natural light and rental space continue to be highly sought-after elements of co-working spaces, sheer silence is not among them. The PSFS building was too quiet for comfort, and workers begged the architects to wire the building for radio reception. Ultimately, they did, and workers began to fill their offices with sounds of life, playing the radio to feel connected to the wider world.
Research shows that efficiency and concentration are enhanced not through silence, but rather through sound. Nearly 100 years later and the same idea rings true: music causes people to feel more comfortable in their workspaces. Not only this, but it is proven to increase productivity, memory, and mood. Luckily, you will not need to fight for the wiring of radio reception at WaveOffice. Simply grab your headphones and checkout how music can make your workday more productive, especially for those of you working in open co-working spaces:
MUSIC MAKES YOU HAPPIER
A recent study followed 56 engineers as they worked with and without music for 5 weeks. The results indicated that work performed with no music took longer to complete and was poorer in quality than work performed while listening to music. This is due to the value music-listening has for positive mood changes, which enhances a person’s perception while working. Music arouses the brain’s reward circuit and causes a release of dopamine, the same hormone released from ingesting caffeine or eating your favorite food. In other words, music can wake you up, just like a cup of coffee, and help you focus on the task at hand.
TEMPO CORRELATES WITH PRODUCTIVITY
A person’s mood and productivity can be enhanced through the tempo of the music they are listening to, as discovered in a 2010 study. It found that individuals listening to fast music completed their work more quickly and viewed the work itself as more enjoyable. However, it is important to start slow.
Feeling groggy in the morning? Slow music might be best. While it is proven a song’s tempo correlates with work efficiency, upbeat music may be distracting and potentially harmful to a person’s productivity early in the morning. Organize your playlist to start with slow, contemplative songs that eventually increase in tempo and positivity. This will allow for a smooth transition into a productive workday.
SHORT BURSTS OF LISTENING HELP REGAIN CONCENTRATION
If your workplace has restrictions on headphones or you simply don’t want to sport them all day, don’t fret. According to Dr. Amit Sood, a physician of integrative medicine, as little as 15-30 minutes of listening time will help a person regain concentration. Furthermore, research shows that people who walk for 30 minutes during their lunch break three times a week are more likely to feel an increase in productivity. Combining a walking break with your listening time is a great way to make the second half of your workday more efficient.
MUSIC REDUCES STRESS AND ANXIETY
Music can improve more than your focus and concentration – it also aids with stress management. However, research shows that when people are extremely stressed, they avoid listening to music because they fear it will lead to more distractions, hindering their ability to complete important tasks on time. While it is proven that familiar or complex songs with narrative lyrics can distract from cognitive work, songs with subtle lyrics and a pace around 121bpm reduce anxiety and increase motivation. Whether you are racing to meet a deadline or juggling a plethora of tasks, throwing on some music as you work can alleviate your stress and increase productivity.
At WaveOffice, we have your productivity in mind. Speakers in the common areas allow us to play carefully crafted playlists that change with the time of day, season, and location. Calm, slow tunes welcome you in the morning and faster songs keep you motivated into the afternoon. Upbeat music in the lobby will inspire you, while peaceful songs in the kitchen allow you to destress during lunch. Working from home? No problem. Here is a playlist from us to you to increase you productivity.