What would the world be without music? We listen to it whilst washing the pots, during our hardest workouts, and at after-work drinks with friends. It’s something we can all agree on, or so it seems…
Because when it comes to playing music in the office, the lines become a little blurred. Some workers find listening to the latest tracks completely motivational, and others think it’s the exact opposite: an unwelcomed distraction. Interestingly, some workplaces don’t let any tunes be played at all.
To settle the debate, we conducted a survey to find out how people felt about music being played in the office. We asked UK workers what their preferences were, what radio channels they played, and if it boosts morale or not. Read on to discover whether listening to tunes really is music to workers’ ears.
To Play or Not to Play?
Hearing songs playing out of the speaker (or radio) at your desk can be a highlight of your working day, or for some – quite the opposite. Over half (54%) of workers favour music in the office, but we must remember that some employees just want to work in complete silence – and that’s okay. In fact, one in ten (11%) people hate the music that’s played in the office, which contributes to their overall approach to work.
As well as acting as an incentive to work harder, music can fill the silence, with 42% of people stating that this is the reason why they gravitate towards listening to music in the workplace.
61% of Offices Don’t Permit Music
Whichever way you feel about it, it’s good to have the option and discuss what is right for you and your team. But as many as 61% of offices don’t even let their workers play songs out loud! This is quite surprising to hear, especially since 35% of those people claimed it helps their productivity levels and consequently, their overall performance at work.
Thrills and Spills Over Music in the Office
Many workers enjoy the sound of music as they sink into their office chairs because it motivates them to get their work done with speed. And out of 39% of workers that can sit and enjoy the music their office plays, the radio was noted as the preferred source (42%).
Offices that allow music to flow freely will offer either a radio or a smart speaker to utilise, which introduces personal playlists for everyone to sing along to. BBC Radio 1 appears to be the top choice for 39% of people that listen to the radio while working their 9-5 shift.
Some workers find music increases their productivity in the office, but this can then lead to a whole new debate about which radio station to settle on. In fact, a third of UK office workers (32%) have ended up arguing over the choice of a radio station.
Music taste is, of course, a personal preference. But this means workers will inevitably have conflicting opinions on which radio channel is “the best” and which genre of music should (or shouldn’t) be played every day.
Now that full-time remote working is reducing and offices are returning to the new “normal”, we need to remember that each employee is different, and will have different ways of approaching work.
Everyone who comes into the office needs to be considered – whether that’s someone who can only work with background music or someone who just cannot concentrate with it on.
For this reason, organisations need to compromise by introducing quiet spaces for workers to escape to, alongside music-filled areas. Eradicating music altogether can negatively affect people’s mental health but ignoring those who find it distracting is also unfair. Therefore, finding a happy medium is imperative.
The General Consensus
Overall, people seem to love listening to music at work. So, companies should really be looking into incorporating this into their office regime (if they don’t already), since it reaps so many benefits.
And for those who prefer a quieter environment, this is something that needs to be discussed and worked on by management. After all, one size doesn’t fit all, and organisations need to understand that.
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A Survey of 1,010 UK office workers was undertaken in June 2021 by Censuswide.