WHY (NOT) LISTEN TO MUSIC AT THE OFFICE?
On the eve of June 21st, the traditional music festival marking the beginning of the summer festivities, Chooseandwork asked itself about the benefits of working with music.
It’s not a question of “blowing out the watts” in the middle of the weekly business meeting, but just whether working with background music is good for us and for the company.
Music in the office: good for concentration
It is known and recognized, music has benefits on animals, vegetables (https://www.franceinter.fr/emissions/l-esprit-d-initiative/l-esprit-d-initiative-13-novembre-2017) and of course on us. It is often said that it soothes morals, but what about at work?
It is a study dating from 1972 (so the subject is not new) which reveals that people listening to music at the office during their working hours have a good level of performance and therefore, are more productive. Great, great, you might say! We’ll be able to listen to Big Boi’s “All night” at work!
Yes but … no ! If music stimulates certain areas of our brain, not all music is good to listen to or put on at any time.
As far as timing is concerned, certain tasks requiring comprehension, reflection (for example organizing a meeting) or memorization, it is highly advised not to put music on, otherwise you will be disturbed and therefore not do your job properly.
As far as the choice of music is concerned, here again experts advise against certain music and recommend instrumental and neutral musical backgrounds.
Not a lot of fun, is it? And you will be right! If scientists advise us to listen to this kind of music, they recommend above all to listen to music we like. And what we’re doing, according to the study published by Linkedin and Spotify in 2017 on the musical habits of French people in their workplace, even when there are several of us in the office.
Music in Professional Relationships
Music is also invited in professional relationships. The Linkedin / Spotify study of 2017 reveals that this can have a negative impact on the image of employees. 8% of employees sharing a workspace judge their colleagues on their choice of music.
Another downside is that while music allows employees to concentrate on their tasks, it also penalizes teamwork. It is difficult to communicate with a colleague when he has his headphones riveted in his ears!
The health aspect is also a hindrance. Indeed, listening to music with headphones all day long is bad for your hearing, as Professor William Shapiro points out:
“If you use headphones, the rule of thumb is to turn your music up to 60 percent of the maximum volume and no more than 60 minutes a day,” says Prof. Shapiro. The expert’s advice: “Many people turn up the volume of their headphones because they don’t want to hear outside noise. Wearing noise-reducing headphones reduces outside noise, which helps reduce the volume of the sound we listen to. So it is very important to turn the volume down to a low level.”
And what does the law say?
Legally, nothing prohibits you from listening to music in the office. However, depending on the position you hold or for simple safety reasons, your employer may prohibit you from doing so. The only obligation for the employer is to include this prohibition in the company’s internal regulations (Articles L 1121-1 and L 321-3 of the Labor Code).
Be careful, however, if you listen to music during working hours (and your company authorizes it), you must do so with respect for your colleagues.
In conclusion, listening to music at work :
- Improves productivity
- should be done in more or less short time slots to allow you to have periods of high concentration (especially if you use a helmet)
- should not impede communication and interaction with your colleagues
- must be authorized by your company’s by-laws
- can be a group project (preparation of a playlist with your team and planning of musical time slots).
Finally, for those who are alone in their office and wish to work with music, you should know that some online listening platforms offer lists entitled “work in peace” or “Feelgood” … playlists very appreciated at Chooseandwork.