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Why Kiwis should sing their way through the working day...

04 Oct 13

Following news that 19% of Kiwi offices ban music from the workplace, Spotify maintains that music can aid the average office worker among us.

Recruiting Elizabeth Howells, Director of PeopleCentric, who specialises in Organisational Psychology, the music provider offers tops on how good tunes can make the working day bearable.

Howells suggests different types of music work better for different people, different challenges, tasks and times of the working day:

1. Stress and anxiety relief

“A feeling of control has emerged as a powerful and important aspect of relaxation through music," she says.

"Self-selected music can provide people with a sense of control over their surroundings and emotions.

"Music can be a way to manage internal thoughts and also to allow leisure into work through memories, associations and fantasy.

"At times of high pressure and stress – such as before a big presentation – songs close to the 60 beats per minute mark are ideal.

"Studies have shown that breathing in time to such music, at a controlled pace, helps lower blood pressure, in turn combatting anxiety."

Suggested track: Better Together - Jack Johnson

2. Happiness, motivation and energy

“Music has been repeatedly found to improve mood; the more time spent listening to music, the greater the increase in positivity.

"Through listening to music we can become more aware of our emotional state.

Upbeat music – around the 120 – 140 beats per minute mark – has been shown to help with motivation – it’s why people tend to listen to it when exercising.

"Faster paced music can also help raise energy levels, for example combatting lethargy in the “post lunch slump”.

Suggested track: Walking on a Dream - Empire of the Sun

3. Concentration, focus and productivity

“For times of the day when you need to ‘buckle down’ and focus, studies have shown that Classical or Easy Listening music – with a continuous rhythm of around 50 - 60 beats per minute, can dramatically improve cognitive performance and information retention.

"Recent research also suggests that pop and rock with a tempo between 60 and 97 beats per minute can have similar productivity gains.

"Just keep it simple, not too loud, not too familiar and avoid music with lyrics as they can distract from the task at hand.”

Suggested track: Gymnopedie No. 1 - Eric Satie

4. Inter-office relations and collaboration

“Music is a great connector of people and can spark conversations, debate and other forms of social interaction, which fosters collaboration.

"However, music is subjective so it’s important to make sure everyone has an equal say in what they listen to.

"Creating a shared communal environment, such as a shared playlist on music streaming service Spotify, gives everyone the opportunity to influence what music is played.”

Suggested track: Naïve - The Kooks

Does music help improve your mood at work? Tell us your preferences below