Is reading and listening to music effective?

Background music: this is how it makes you more productive

Some swear by it, others can hardly stand it: Background music at work can lead to some discussion. Although there are different personalities and ways of working, the scientifically proven advantages of background music cannot be denied and discussed away. At work, in particular, there are a few arguments in favor of turning on suitable background music and devoting yourself to the tasks of the day. We explain to you which background music promises the greatest benefit with which ToDos and which positive effects you can achieve with the right background music….

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Background music at work: The numerous advantages

Background music is part of the normal background noise at many workplaces. The radio or a specially created playlist is playing. Hardly anyone at work really focuses on the music that is playing quietly in the background, but they do Benefits and Effects are still amazing.

  • Background music increases performance

    With the right rhythm and a good song in your ear, the work becomes easier and more is achieved. You may have experienced this yourself and scientists from the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig were able to show in a study that background music increases performance and productivity.

    If you listen to your favorite music, you work harder and use less energy. Result: better results with higher productivity. The study confirms older studies that came to a similar result and showed that a fast tempo of the background music in particular has a positive effect on work performance.

  • Background music lowers stress

    There is a lot going on at work, time is running out, tasks are piling up, the boss is putting pressure on and expectations are high - then background music can help to reduce the perceived stress. A study from Massachusetts General Hospital showed that music releases less of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline.

    Blood pressure and heart rate drop, breathing becomes slower and more regular, feelings of fear and stress are reduced and the body begins to relax. With the right background music, you can calm down even in stressful phases, suffer less from the situation and maintain your performance.


    The best background music for less stress

    British neuroscientists headed by David Lewis-Hodgson have investigated the question of which background music has the greatest effects on the stress level - and they found it. The astonishing result: The stress of the test subjects was reduced by up to 65 percent be reduced.

    The result was a playlist with ten songs, which are particularly suitable as background music against stress:

  • Background music increases stamina

    Many athletes will know it: With the right music in your ear, you can hold out longer, run longer distances, run faster, lift larger weights. Background music pays off, especially when it comes to perseverance and stamina - this was shown at Brunel University in London.

    Test subjects trained with different music. If the rhythm of the music roughly corresponded to the running speed (120 to 140 pulse beats per minute), the results were better, the test runners showed greater endurance and stated that they were less strenuous.

  • Background music makes you happy

    “Music is a vehicle for sadness - but also for joy. And if you succeed in bringing both extremes together, magic arises "Paul McCartney once said. The Geneva psychologist Marcel Zentner found out in studies with more than 1000 test persons that music influences our mood. In other words: If you hear happy, positive melodies, this will immediately show in your emotional state.

    This effect is particularly strong when you are listening to your favorite music. The greater the connection to a musical piece, the stronger the effects it can have. But be careful: background music does not only have a positive effect on emotions. If your favorite song is very sad, this will also be noticeable.

Labor law: is background music allowed?

To this day, some employers maintain an attitude that work is not for pleasure. The radio listening regulations are correspondingly restrictive. But how does it actually look legally with music in the workplace out?

In principle, according to the Federal Labor Court (BAG), music can be listened to at work if it does not interfere with work. However, if an employer does Prohibit listening to music he can do so on the basis of the internal order of the business.

The works council has one here Right of co-determination according to § 87 Paragraph 1 No. 1 Works Constitution Act (BAG, 1 ABR 75/83). If a company does not have a works council, the employer can allow or prohibit listening to music according to the principle of proportionality.

A prohibition would be disproportionate if the workers conscientious and focused go about their work, customer traffic is not disturbed and other employees do not feel harassed.

If a ban has now been pronounced and the employee does not comply with it - for example when listening to music on headphones - it can serious consequences have: First of all, a warning can be issued.

However, if the employee violates this again, behavior-related termination is possible. On the other hand, the employee can because of an arbitrary disproportionate prohibition sue against the employer.

Another question that will probably concern some workers: what about fees for the GEMA and the broadcasting fee out?

As long as background music (for example from CDs or MP3) is only played in the office or an adjoining room, it is no communication to the public the music. Even if a customer perceives this music in the sales room, no license fees have to be paid. It looks different at company celebrations: Here license fees have to be paid to GEMA.

What is the best background music for the job?

When it comes to music, tastes vary widely. Quiet tones, rocking sounds, rough voices or something completely different? Luck for everyone who works alone or sits in their own office and makes their own choice of music just for themselves. Difficult enough one generally acceptable background music to find.

But which one is particularly suitable for the job? There is no clear answer to this. There is no such thing as “the one right” background music that you always benefit from and that fits every occasion. Rather, researchers are convinced that the Background music for the respective task and should fit the requirements. This results, for example, in the perfect background music for ...

  • Concentrated work

    For tasks that require a high level of concentration, calm sounds are the best choice. It also makes sense to listen to music that is only instrumental - i.e. does not contain any text. This distracts easily, which you cannot use at all if you are currently deep in concentration.

  • Write and read

    When the words wither on your tongue and the famous writer's block threatens, you can listen to pop music lyrics in the background, but you shouldn't. Lyrics are also more of a hindrance and distraction when reading - especially if they are sung in the same language as the text you are currently reading. According to the study, lounge, instrumental and classical music are best suited for these jobs.

  • Stupid work

    There are those too. In every job. E-mails have to be processed and answered or deleted, data recorded and files sorted. In case of doubt, the IQ of Toast is enough, but it's not more fun. So these tasks should be done quickly - and fast beats and crunchy raps are best for this. So: Pop music of all stripes, the current charts, summer hits, just nothing with lard and heartache.

For special creative tasks, for example when brainstorming or looking for a complicated problem, it can even make sense to avoid background music. During the creative phase, silence is the best background noise.

However, if you are looking for a specific style for your background music, there are some that are particularly popular at work. However, the best thing is: Try it outwhat works for you. Listen to different genres of music, see how you react to them as you work and what brings the best effects. For starters, you can try these three:

  • Nature music

    Raindrops pattering on a pane of glass, wind blowing through the leaves or a river that babbles away. Nature music has a very calming effect on most people. Nevertheless, it is beneficial to productivity, because not only is work more concentrated and relaxed, but cognitive abilities are also increased.

  • Classical music

    Classical music is very popular and there are good reasons at work to play the classical composers more often. A study was able to show that classical music increases the concentration of the test subjects and at the same time leads to a better mood.

  • Epic music

    Most of them are familiar with epic music from big films, which are often used to emphasize the drama and importance of the events. This is exactly what works at work. Listening to epic music makes each task feel more important, which keeps motivation up.

Rules for the office: This way the music doesn't become a disruptive factor

Despite all the studies and advantages: Background music does not have the same effects on everyone. For some, sound reinforcement on the job becomes a real torture, where work is almost impossible. Also about Background music as a disruptive factor there are scientific studies. It shows: If the wrong background music is selected or if someone cannot work with music at all, performance suffers to a great extent.

In the extreme, it can cause the same symptoms as a person who is on dyslexia suffers, i.e. the inability to read, understand and reproduce words correctly. The ability to absorb and understand was drastically impaired by the wrongly chosen background music.

Consequence for you: Ultimately, only you can decide for yourself whether background music bothers you at work or makes you more productive. The following three basic rules however, all music lovers should heed:

  • No general public address

    If you work in an open plan office and want to listen to music while you work, use headphones. At the latest when two different songs are played at the same time, the concentration of the colleagues is over.

  • No club volume

    Don't turn the music up too loud. You should still be able to hear when a colleague speaks to you or the phone rings. And of course when you're talking to someone, take the earplugs out.

  • No singing along

    Even if you have the singing voice of an Elton John, singing along in the office is completely off-limits. The distraction and nerve factor for colleagues is simply too high.

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February 23, 2021Author: Jochen Mai

Jochen Mai is the founder and editor-in-chief of the career bible. The author of several books lectures at the TH Köln and is a sought-after keynote speaker, coach and consultant.

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